Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, 2009, USA/UK
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a remake of the Japanese film Hachikō Monogatari. Both films are based on the true story of Hachikō, the Akita who faithfully waited at the train station for nine years after his master’s death.
Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) finds a puppy at the train station during his commute home from work. His wife (Joan Allen) does not want the dog, but gives in when she sees the bond the puppy and her husband share. The puppy’s collar has the word “Hachi” on it – Japanese for the number eight, so Parker names him Hachi. When Parker suddenly dies of a heart attack, his family and Hachi are heartbroken. Parker’s daughter (Sarah Roemer) tries to take Hachi home, but when he consistently returns to the train station, she lets him go. For the rest of his life, Hachi waits patiently for his master to return.
Just a word of warning to anyone who wants to see this film: it’s really, really sad. Like, Kleenex box next to you and wailing into a handful of tissues sad. I love animals, so these types of movies tend to hit me pretty hard as it is. It’s a beautiful story of loyalty, love and devotion. Animals may love differently than humans do, but there’s no denying that animals grieve and know when something has happened to their owner.
I really liked the film. It’s a simple story, and immensely touching. I dare you not to cry – truly. As I watched it, I couldn’t help but think that even the hardest of hearts would be softened by the film.
The one flaw would be that the human characters really aren’t all that developed. Even the audience doesn’t really have the chance to get to know Parker – instead we know him as Hachi’s owner. This didn’t bother me much because I saw the film as being about the dog and being from the dog’s perspective, but this may irritate people who don’t like dogs quite as much as I do (though I am a cat person at heart!).
If you’re a fan of films about dogs – or an animal lover in general, I’d urge you to check out Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. It’s available on Netflix. Just be sure to have a box of tissues nearby and be prepared to hug your animal companion a little bit closer afterwards.