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Parents' Guide to

A Dog's Purpose

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Tearjerker is sweet, poignant, and occasionally violent.

Movie PG 2017 120 minutes
A Dog's Purpose Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 39 parent reviews

age 8+
I think it's a good movie to watch with ur family

This title has:

Great messages
age 14+

Nice story.

Alsome feel good life journey good for all.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (39 ):
Kids say (77 ):

Director Lasse Hallstrom specializes in emotional, feel-good fare that can make audiences cry, and this tearjerking drama is no exception. But because of a behind-the-scenes animal-abuse controversy, word of mouth leading up to the release of A Dog's Purpose wasn't about Gad's touching voice performance or the movie's alternately adorable and heartbreaking storylines. Instead, all the buzz was about a viral video that allegedly depicted on-set abuse toward the movie's animal actors -- a video that was later proven to have been purposely edited in a misleading way (i.e. faked).

All of that aside, the story exalts the relationship between dogs and their humans. Gad's voice is gentle and clear as all the various incarnations. Although the dog lives several lifetimes, it's Bailey that resonates the most (Apa is perfectly cast as a high-school football star whose dog is his best friend). There are occasional heavy themes, but there's laughter, too, and one "life" is quick and happy -- when the dog is a little pooch that belongs to pizza-loving, fast-talking graduate student Maya (Kirby Howell-Baptiste). Maya is lonely, and, thanks to her cute little dog falling for a much larger dog in the park, she finds love with her classmate. But ultimately it's the Bailey-Ethan bond that's most meaningful for this particular dog, and the way they find their way back to each other again is likely to leave you sniffling.

Movie Details

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