Parent reviews for A Dog's Purpose

Common Sense says

Tearjerker is sweet, poignant, and occasionally violent.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 34 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 48 reviews
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byMeredithR January 28, 2017

Kids loved it, some iffy topics

Spoiler alert - some scene description to follow... I took a group of ten 10 year-olds and two 7 year-olds to see this today. I loved the movie but cried the whole way through, as did most of the kids in the group. The 7 year-olds missed most of the adult moments and got a little bored with all the adult dialog. But I have to warn parents that there is some iffy content including mild teen kissing and a more disturbing series of scenes affecting the main character (Ethan) in the first part of the movie: Ethan's father is an alcoholic and has a couple of "falling down drunk" and word slurring moments and the son punches him to keep him from hurting his mother. The father packs and leaves never to return. Ethan also punches the school bully when he badmouths his family (I think - or maybe his girlfriend?) The bully then starts a fire at Ethan's home and the mother, Ethan and the dog have to escape through the 2nd floor window. That was a scary scene for the 10 year-olds to watch - very realistic. There were a few adults feeling "lonely" looking for something to make them happy in life - for most it was a romantic partner, which I thought that was disappointing as it insinuates that one can't be happy without a partner. (That's my grown-up take on it - I'm sure the kids didn't notice at all.) Be prepared for multiple doggie death scenes and bring plenty of tissue. I did prep the 7 year-olds by explaining the dogs in the movie never got hurt and never really died, which helped. One scene could be scary for kids - it's the police dog scene where he's looking for a 12 year-old girls who's been kidnapped (ack!) and the police dog tracks down the criminal, who, in running from the police bumps the girl into rushing water and ends up shooting the dog. I was afraid all the adult dialog would lose the kids but they all said they liked the movie and chatted happily about which dog they liked the best. Overall it was a cute movie and opened the door for my family to discuss alcoholism and depression with my kids. The other kids with us may mention it to their parents and fingers crossed they're ok with it!
Adult Written byYoda G. January 29, 2017

Unconditional love

I left this movie feeling good and wanting to quickly get home and give my big dog a big hug. A dog is unconditionally your best friend. I didn't see this film as a tearjerker or worthy of controversy by PETA. Truthfully I now question PETA, they totally missed the power and the love this movie will create for dog ownership. Simple story - simple theme. Great movie !!

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Parent of a 5 and 5 year old Written byNicole F. February 6, 2017

Not suitable for kids

So, we were excited to see the dog movie. Turns out, there is a horribly abusive, alcoholic father. The kid has to deal with the dad while he isn't 'licking face and wrestling' with his girlfriend. His ex-friend almost kills the whole family. A police dog is shot in action, and killed (while trying to save a 12 year old after she was kidnapped). And a drunken/drugged out couple abandon the dog on railroad tracks. Wow...had to have sooo many conversations after this movie.
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byStephanie G. March 5, 2017

A little traumatizing for younger kids (under 10)

I took my 8 year old daughter and 10 (almost 11) year old son, along with several other 8 year old girls and their moms. Twice during the movie my daughter and her friend came to sit in mom's lap from fear. My son had read the book, so he was more prepared. However, the 8 year olds were very upset during several scenes. The main character boy has an alcoholic father who causes conflict, and in the end they kick him out after throwing the mom down. The dog digs up the dead pet cat's body and brings it to the owner. The kidnapping scene is traumatizing as a young girl falls off a bridge while being held captive, and then the dog is shot, and there is a huge pool of blood. The point of the story is that the dog keeps dying and coming back as a new dog in a new life... so if your child can't handle that, definitely wait to see this one. There is a fantastic message, and to me, each story is certainly realistic... people die, pets die, people are sad and lonely, life is not perfect, but there is love and happiness too.

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Adult Written byPete C. February 11, 2017

Not a good movie

Movie was not for dog lovers, honestly it was the worst movie I ever seen. 100% animal abuse, Idk how someone could watch that. Me and my family had to leave the theater. Definitely not what we expected.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bymoiself February 17, 2017

Good for tweens and up

I'm not sure why this movie received poor ratings. I took my 11-year-old and 13-year-old today and all three of us enjoyed it greatly. The story line is not geared for small children, as it delves into some difficult relationship issues (alcoholism, for example). Some parents may be concerned about the theme of reincarnation, depending on their religious beliefs. There are also sad moments in the movie--parents need to be aware of these concerns when considering taking their children. With that being said, it was nice to have a movie which would appeal to older kids and which I felt was "safe" to take my kids to.

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Adult Written byMarc M. January 27, 2017

Good book and good movie thumbs up

VERY SAD AND HAPPY AT THE SAME TIME ! Read the book Then watch the show! Good job guys!

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Adult Written bySashank K. April 18, 2017

Despite lacking a strong narrative or compelling characters, A Dog’s Purpose remains watchable enough thanks to its cutesy canines.

A Dog’s Purpose was born and fostered as a feel-good film. If the sight of animals, especially cutesy canines, brings a smile to your face, then A Dog’s Purpose will make you gush over the Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Corgi and Saint Bernard that show up as reincarnations of a dog during the film. The movie feels like a stretched-out commercial for dog adoption. We see the animal characters from their birth with their mother until a human usually adopts them, some willingly some reluctantly, and the story follows their lives afterwards. Kiddo Ethan (Bryce Gheisar) is more than eager to keep the Golden Retriever, the second reincarnate after the first has a short-lived life in a pound. He names it Bailey (or ‘Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey!’ as the dog recognizes it) after his mother Elizabeth (Juliet Rylance) and he find it locked (and losing consciousness) in a pick-up truck one summer afternoon in 1950s. Dad Jim (Luke Kirby) needs an evening’s convincing to approve of the furry addition to the family. Bailey is voiced by a youthful-sounding Josh Gad, although the film could’ve scored higher if hadn’t used a voiceover for its dogs. Bailey grows up mostly around Ethan, who teaches him a few cool tricks (which end up having an important purpose later in the film) but can’t train him to be a ‘good’ boy. Bailey loves to create a ruckus even as a grown-up dog whether by chasing the domestic cat at home or chickens in the fields during visits to Ethan’s grandparents’ home. Unfortunately, one of Bailey’s antics ruins dad Jim’s chances of getting a promotion, and Jim’s career spirals downwards thereon. He takes to drinking and grows increasingly aloof from his family. Ethan meanwhile grows up to become a star soccer player in college. He also gets into a relationship with Hannah (Britt Robertson), a girl he first sets his eyes on at a carnival. Bailey has a role as an unlikely matchmaker here as well, which is ultimately the film’s obvious purpose – to highlight every way in which a dog plays a part in a human’s life, most essentially by making you feel less lonesome in life (perhaps the film’s most weighty message). Ethan almost makes it into Michigan State University on full scholarship but his plans are cut short when he breaks his leg while escaping his house, which is up in flames following a prank. He dispiritedly leaves for an agriculture school instead, and Bailey’s hours becomes less adventurous in the absence of Ethan at his new residence with the grandparents. In its next life, Bailey is born as a German Shepherd bitch named Ellie. It is the 80s now and Bailey/Ellie’s new owner Carlos (John Ortiz) is a police officer working for the Chicago Police Department. Ellie, still retaining Gad’s voice, becomes a sniffer dog. The theme of loneliness is more prominent here as we learn that Carlos’ wife/lover has left him or is departed. Bailey’s next incarnate Tino, a Corgi, too has a friendless owner, Maya (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), a 20 or so college student. However, Maya ends up getting married soon (the dog has a part to play in this, of course) and Tino leads a fulfilling life with his doggie companion too! Following Tino’s demise, the film concludes with Bailey’s reincarnation as a Saint Bernard ‘Buddy’. It predictably brings the story full circle by getting Ethan and Hannah back into the picture. The reunion of Bailey, now as Buddy the Saint Bernard, with elderly Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Hannah (Peggy Lipton) is far-fetched and corny. The whole film in fact is a twee corny, with a simple, almost rudimentary narrative simple, and skin-and-bones human characterizations. It is the charming performances by the ensemble of both dog and human actors that makes A Dog’s Purpose a passable, if not memorable, watch.

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Adult Written byTresa Y. January 29, 2017

Dog lover

I absolutely loved it. I laughed, I cried and I awwed. It was the sweetest movie I had seen in a long time. I'm a dog lover anyway as I have 2 entirely different breeds and they have very different personalities. The thing I loved about the movie was when the dogs tried to let people know something. My beagle actually try's talking to me when she wants something. BEST EVER

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Adult Written byFrank M. February 7, 2017

A perfect family movie

Forget what PETA said, now that it has been proven a fake video. I went yesterday to see this movie, A heart warming, eye watering film, that hasn't been seen in Hollywood for years. If you don't want to run out and get a sheltered dog after this your heart is made from stone

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Positive role models
Adult Written byJoan F. February 1, 2017
Behind somehow is funny the movie reflects the sad life dogs have to live and it turned out Beng sad;I think that's the reason why the low rating of the movie.
Adult Written byLeandro R. January 28, 2017

#BoycottADogsPurpose DONT WATCH IT. Is awful what are they doing with the animals. THIS IS NOT A DOG'S PURPOSE

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Violence & scariness
Adult Written byBiljana Emir H. January 28, 2017

Beautiful picture!

It's a great movie with a well rounded plot. I am a pet owner and animal lover and I recommend this movie to everyone.
Parent of a 6 year old Written bySensorybob May 25, 2017

Reincarnation made fun for children!

If you want a movie that targets children and teaches reincarnation in a playful way then this is the movie for you! Reincarnate me out of this theater please.

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Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent Written byNicole S. February 6, 2017

You will cry!!

This movie highlights the love between a human and their pets. I cried when Ethan, the main character, goes off to college and Bailey chases his car in desperation. It gets sadder then when Bailey dies. I got hopeful for Baileys return after that since I had read the plot beforehand. I recently lost my sister and in the past had to put my dog to sleep because of cancer. I think when I was younger I may have not cried as much. This movie looks for the meaning of life, which we are all looking for. Bring Kleenex!!

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Adult Written byFrank J. January 28, 2017

Dog purpose sux

The movie is horrible it protrayes the white males as alcoholic wife beating dog punishing arsonist! Makes me sick! Much less let's keep bring the dog back to life! Real watch it with open eyes and you will see what I'm talking about. I would have NEVER taken my kids to see it if I knew the hidden message it had. I take offense to how ONLY the WHITE MALES are horriable people!!!! The movie didn't not have to have those parts to get the plot across.... then again what was the plot of the movie?

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Violence & scariness
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byCamila R. January 28, 2017

Lovely

This movie is just perfect. Its completely beautiful and its full of education for humans I think that this movie show us how to respect our pets and love them. I got really impressed with this movie I even cried.

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Adult Written byMaggie M. January 27, 2017

I loved this movie! It gives us a real meaning..

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Adult Written byNafiu M. April 21, 2017

White-wash

Complete white-wash

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Consumerism
Parent of a 11 year old Written byAmy S. May 14, 2017

Very touching. Engaging.

A wonderful movie for dog lovers with a good message. There are several kissing scenes but they are tasteful and not inappropriate. The drunk father is a bit troubling because it's sad but does not go overboard - just enough to get the point across. The fire scene is scary and very sad but everyone survives. I was very impressed with how well done this movie was and recommend it for kids 11 and over.

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