A Dog’s Journey is the warm-hearted movie based on the book by the same name by W. Bruce Cameron. The film directed by Gail Mancuso is the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose but the movie can be viewed as a stand alone just as well. The story tells of a pooch named Bailey who keeps reincarnating and coming back as different dogs that all find their way to a human named Ethan. But when Ethan’s grand-daughter, CJ, is taken away from him when she is a young girl he fears she may be in for a rough life. So as Bailey passes away from cancer in Ethan’s arms Ethan asks Bailey to find CJ and take care of her if he should come back again. Bailey fulfills his promise to Ethan coming back as three different pups who all find their way to CJ when she is the most in need.
The film is a valentine to dogs and dog lovers everywhere for sure. But it also works as an emotional tale of believing in yourself and living a life from the heart. It makes the case whether furry or non-furry we all need love. Obviously there are a lot of emotional scenes many with dogs passing away. That being said one of the really interesting things this film does is frame death as simply a temporary parting of ways as we all walk our life’s journey. If there is love we will always follow it back together again. In fact in the narration Bailey never uses the word death or dying. He simply uses the word leaving. It’s an interesting and uplifting portrayal of parting from this world.
There is some unevenness in the narration. There are parts that can feel a little too sentimental. Also Bailey’s personality is the typical movie dog. There isn’t really an arc for him per se in the story. It’s more CJ’s arc that drives this tale of furry companions and love. But this tender yarn hits other notes really well. It doesn’t get melodramatic with CJ’s alcoholic mother for instance. Instead demonstrating how devastating a few sentences and some solitude can be with lines like “She still has power over you”. All while still showing sympathy towards those who hurt others because of their own fears and pain. The ending is a one-two emotional gut punch but it is also satisfying and cathartic.
For all these reason’s I enjoyed a Dog’s Journey. It like life is not perfect but it comes from the heart. It is a tale about facing and overcoming hardships even if we need a furry companion to lend us a paw which makes for a touching tribute to the canine-human bond.
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Credits: A Dog’s Journey is property of Universal Pictures. We do not own nor claim any rights. Music by Beggars. Promo by Podcoin. Hamptonitis Interview recorded at Alamo Drafthouse in Winchester, VA.