Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Hachi: A Dog’s Tale</strong> (2009)

(Video on Demand, December 2015) I’m not a big dog person, but Hachi still managed to reach me twice as often as I thought.  The story of a dog who comes to wait eternally for his dead master, Hachi hits high notes at the beginning of the story (when a preposterously cute puppy dog gets a lot of screen time) and at the end, as the years go on and the dog stands for permanence in a forever-changing world.  It is, very obviously, a film made with obviously mawkish intent: it pulls no punches in trying to get tears out of its audience, and milks every single dramatic detail (such as the squeezable ball) to its fullest.  But, especially after a slow first half, it picks up and gets far more interesting than expected later on.  Richard Gere isn’t bad as the lead human character, an academic who ends up with a lot more than he expected when a dog randomly pops into his path.  Still, this is the dog’s film and everyone knows it.  For a movie that was apparently never widely shown in North-American theaters, Hachi has since acquired a minor but entirely well-deserved notoriety.  Dog people should truly brace themselves for sobs, though.

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