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Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

Movie Rating: This entry has a rating of 3.5

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.

  1. Rob B.
    June 2nd, 2013 at 11:21 | #1

    Sweet-hearted movie, I have a soft spot for Hatchi. :) Glad you watched this one, I think it’s a story animal lovers would especially respond to. My lab is practically my shadow when I’m home, he follows me everywhere even when he’s exhausted – for me, dogs are creatures that typify genuine love. That’s what I loved about Hatchi.

    One little thing I really liked was how their would be violin music playing throughout the story; I think it complimented the story with that as a soothing backdrop. With the music playing, it sometimes took the place of dialogue by heightening the emotion of the story.

    I understand what you’re saying about Richard Gere’s character being simple and one-note, but I think he was someone we didn’t really need to know much about. He’s sort of like The Man in the Yellow Hat in the Curious George stories, for me, so it’s more about his and Hatchi’s relationship together and how he saved the dog and therefore his dog returns that love tenfold. Even Hatchi could be considered one-note, he’s only ever inordinately loyal and loving, but I think that’s enough.

    This is a movie I adore but can’t work up the courage to rewatch any time soon. It’ll break me, I was choking up losing my voice a little as soon as I finished it.

  2. Jennifer
    June 2nd, 2013 at 21:10 | #2

    @Rob B.

    You make a good point about Richard Gere’s character. He was sort of the thing that got the story started. I don’t think I’ll be able to watch this movie again – I truly was bawling my eyes out through a good half of it, and I’m not even a dog person! I like dogs, but I prefer cats! I wouldn’t mind getting another dog one day, but my kitty doesn’t particularly like other dogs so it won’t be in the cards for a long time. But as I watched the movie, I thought about my cat and how loyal he is to me and it made me cry so much!

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