Hachi: A Dog's Tale
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the adorable puppy in this movie does more than play with toys: he changes an entire community's view of friendship. Considering the G rating, suggestive scenes where adults kiss and
prepare to bathe together are rather risque for younger viewers. Adults consume alcohol. Some mature moments are implied, though not seen, so parental guidance is suggested.
What's the story?
Somewhere in a monastery in remote Japan, a puppy dog is crated and shipped to another country. But his luggage tags are lost, and he ends up wandering the platform of the train station in a town called Bedridge. This is where Professor Parker Williams (Richard Gere) finds him -- and the beginning of an unlikely friendship unfolds. Hachi, as the dog is known by the symbol on his collar, becomes so involved in the lives of the community that he is remembered for many years to come.
Is it any good?
Like a Zen meditation, this movie has a calm pace that soothes viewers. That is, until a tragedy occurs and Hachi's true colors shine through. Though this movie is based on a true story that took place in Shibuya, Japan in the '30s, there are some parts that may confuse contemporary American kids (such as, where is Animal Control when Hachi is roaming about for years at a time?) But director Lasse Hallstrom captures a dog's-eye view of life beautifully. Be prepared to shed a tear, and brace yourself to want to adopt a dog just like Hachi when the movie comes to a close.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether Hachi is a hero or not. Can animals be heroes? Parker's grandson thinks of Hachi as a hero. Do you agree?
At one point Parker's daughter purposefully opens the gate to let Hachi decide to stay with her family or to run away. Is this responsible behavior?
This movie is rated G for general audiences, but its content deals with some sophisticated topics. Here is a peek at what the target age of this movie might be looking for in their media lives.