Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Parent reviews for A Dog's Way Home

Common Sense says

Sentimental but sweet dog adventure has intense, sad scenes.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 49 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews
Adult Written byRobin432 January 12, 2019

Not for kids

Movie was terrible. Took my 3 kids (ages 8, 11 & 12) and we should’ve walked out. I didn’t realized that scene after scene it would continued to get worse. Too political (unless you are super liberal) NOT a family movie at all.
Adult Written bykwpfaff January 12, 2019

Horrible and not okay for children

Don't take your kids to see this movie! The script is terrible, the seasons make no sense, and the voice is annoying. But what I really can't believe it's that someone thought it was a good idea to have a scene where the dog is chained to a homeless man who dies, so the dog is slowly starving until kids find the dead body, yay! Good luck explaining all that your child. I took my child's friend with us and was texting her mom during the movie to apologize for the content. The horrible characters in the movie never have any redemption or growth, leaving you with just a terrible world except for one guy who is impossibly perfect but also not really a grown up in any meaningful way. My kid is 10, but I'm really not sure this movie is for anyone. It's just miserable. All 3 adults and 3 kids who went aheada that it was a waste of money and time and we felt awful and wished we had left.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byCommonSenseShamp January 14, 2019

AVOID this movie, it is masked as for kids, but it is a political movie about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and is boring, long, morbid, depressing, and sad.

AVOID this movie. People think it will be another Homeward Bound type movie, but there is nothing funny or fun about this manic and morbid film. It is not a movie made for children, it is closer to an Infowars story with a hidden agenda, notably Breed Specific Legislation. Apparently, Denver does not allow Pitbulls in city limits and the filmmaker goes to great lengths to stand against it. However, making a movie geared towards families with a cute puppy and kittens in the trailers, it masks that this is a horrible movie, that no kid would like and parents like me are furious that it was marketed towards families. They tried really hard to include as many politically correct stereotypes as possible, a gay couple, drunk dog owner, an inter-racial couple, PTSD, VA ineffectiveness, kids standing up to development and progress, poverty and homelessness. However, what they do no show you is that the homeless man dies, the dog is chained to his body and what could have been implied for an adult's perspective, is glaringly showcased. All of the wildlife is horribly done in CGI. The movie was long, boring, sad, morbid and depressing. This movie is only for people who volunteer at the ASPCA or are involved in the BSL movement. Do not just skip this movie, protest it and boycott this awful movie.
Adult Written byDallasmommyof3 January 12, 2019


What could have been a cute and sweet story was ruined by liberal propaganda like so many are these days. Messages: hunters are bad, pit bulls are good, homosexuality is good, land development is bad, showed unmarried people in bed together. Some scenes were too scary and sad for my 8 year old and she cried. I loved that it seemed to support our veterans.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Adult Written by12Jcochran January 12, 2019

Seemingly positive previews end in sad dissapointment

You would think this was a Disney movie based on its loss and separation. Euthanization is a large topic in this movie...which (spoiler alert***)...even when the dog finds his owner 2 yrs later the pound is waiting to take dog away. Depressing - when my 7 year old cries then I know this was not a movie with topics that needed to be experienced. Less of a movie of hope than a movie of loneliness and abandonment.
Adult Written byAshley.koetje January 13, 2019

Separation, heartache, and injury

My family and I are admittedly crazy dog people. We have been looking forward to this movie ever since we saw its preview. Unfortunately, after the light-hearted beginning, it was one heartbreaking scene after another. The previews show that the dog, Bella, and her owner are reunited in the end. Had I not known that, I would have left before it was even close to being over. My children, ages 10, 8, and 5, all cried from being so worried for Bella. Unlike in other children’s movies where after there is something heavy and sad, the happy is right around the corner, the only thing around the next several corners is more sad! I kept checking my watch, hoping this depressing tale would soon be turning around. SPOILERS AHEAD: Two of the most upsetting scenes to us were *****spolier***** watching Bella chained to a dead man who is supposed to love her! She could almost get her chain close enough to the river to drink, but not quite. What came next was Bella narrating how thirsty and hungry she was.. It was an excruciating scene to watch, The other most difficult scene to watch was ******spoiler****** when Bella is hit by a car. After laying in a heap, which was upsetting enough, she gets up. She is bloody and hobbles on three paws, while her narration describes the horrible pain she is feeling. It was gut wrenching . I kept pushing through to get to the happy ending to “fix” all the trauma my kids had just witnessed. After it was all said and done, my two boys and my husband declared it to be a good movie. My daughter and I said we didn’t like it at all because all of that poor baby’s suffering was just too much for our hearts. Even with the happy ending, the movie was loss after loss for Bella or the other innocent creatures around her. I am just too tender when it comes to dogs and other animals to handle it well. Apparently my daughter is the same way. If you have a sensitive child, or one who is easily frightened or worried, skip this one. Also, if you have an adopted child, who has experience loss and trauma, I think this would be terribly triggering for them. Many parental figures come and go and Bella tells you that she “never saw them again.” The little bit of happy in this film doesn’t come close to covering all the difficult loss and sadness in this movie, in my opinion. I wish I had read these reviews before going!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bybtate January 19, 2019

Liberal agenda

Don't expose your children to this movie. Its loaded with liberal agenda and promotion of homosexual cultures. The most obvious of which is the gay couple. The move goes out of their way to show the couple both wearing wedding rings and pictures of them together throughout their home. I will give them credit for not including any over the top gestures, kissing, or displays of affection. It's discouraging that make such an effort to include details to display the couple as married, but at the end of the movie when Bella returns home to the owner, a scene with the couple in bed together revels no wedding rings in sight. The other plot lines on of the story that push the liberal agenda include the fact that dogs and cats through out the movie take on a new relationship. They now live in a world where a puppy nurses from a stray cat. (yes, that happens). The dog becomes a mother to a cougar and identifies as it's mother. Its a pretty obvious effort to send a message that traditional roles no longer exist and that cats can parent dogs, and dogs can parent cats, and men can marry men, and you couples can sleep together prior to marriage. Guard your children's eyes from the influences of the libel agenda and Hollywood's attempt to break down traditional values through manipulative media .

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Adult Written byAGR1227 January 13, 2019

Good, but not for young children

I have a VERY sensitive daughter who just turned 12....there is zero chance she could have tolerated this film before now. It's very sweet, but INTENSE. The dog is taken by the dog-cather, crying in a crate, waiting in a cage later at the shelter. There are some incredibly perilous scenes of an avalanche, coyotes attacking the dog, and a homeless man who chains himself the the dog and then dies, leaving the dog to starve. That's horrific enough, but add to that the voice of the dog "I've never been so thirsty..." and other heartbreaking things. Honestly, 6th grade and up....I believe it's far too much for any younger.
Adult Written byADad January 22, 2019

Indoctrination for kids...

This movie is disguised as a "Homeward Bound" type dog story. There are elements of that; however, Hollywood, as usual, could just not help itself. They include scenes depicting homosexual activity as if it is the most normal thing in the world and are clearly designed to influence young children's thinking on the matter. The writers and directors clearly don't like hunting much either.
Adult Written byfallnau January 13, 2019

Disturbing not for kids

I found several aspects of this movie disturbing. The previews don't give an accurate summary of the story. (Spoiler alert) At one point the dog is chained to a homeless man that passed away. Two kids find the body and free the dog. The dog get's hit by a car. There are several more situations/subjects that are very dark and/or disturbing. It is unfortunate because there are some aspects of the movie that could have been the focus and it would have been a great story. Shame on Hollywood for calling this a family move and once again pushing their agenda onto other people calling it a family movie.
Adult Written byInshape4life2 January 10, 2019

Not appropriate

I’m sorry, Hollywood has gone too far. If there is questionable material in a movie it needs to be disclosed! I had to take my kids out. I do not treat people who choose a different lifestyle bad, but it is NEVER ok to put it In a kid movie as if it is just the norm. I wish I had known. They have the right to put it in the movie, but I should have the right to know and choose what is ok for my family and not have it slammed on us. My kids don’t know anything about that lifestyle because they aren’t old enough, but they will definitely ask now. It’s just not ok to force it on us.
Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written byPBFox January 16, 2019

Not for young kids, not for sensitive souls, not for "conservatives"

I loved it! My 11-year old daughter and her friend loved it. Pros: The writing was excellent, the story was cohesive, and the actors except the dog catcher were all believable. Positive message about veterans. The dog's voice was cute and the movie had some super funny scenes. I found the gay couple to be non-offensive, helpful, and friendly dog-lovers. The CGI for the bobcat was excellent. Some terrific messages of perseverance, faith and hope, animal rights, veterans support, pet ownership responsibilities, and overcoming desperate and momentous challenges. Cons: Some intense, violent, and disturbing scenes for very young kids, e.g. injuries, hunger, and a wolf pack attack. I was glad I didn't bring my 8-year old. I think he could handle it, but he would have been confused and upset by parts. Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it's not appropriate for a good portion of the target audience which I assume is 6-14. I think 11+ can handle the juxtaposition of good vs. evil, life vs. death, humor vs. darkness, light-heartedness vs. intensity.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byconcerned grandma January 26, 2019


I was not prepared for all the politically correctness that was pushed out in this film. If I had been smart and looked at the reviews on common sense media first I would not have wasted the money. It is not right to shove homosexuality on people in the guise of a FAMILY movie. This is not something that should be in a movie for children. It is bad enough that we have to see it on TV, and are able to change the channel, but now in movies supposedly for children and families! There are scenes that were very disturbing and again not appropriate for younger audiences. Leave it to Hollywood to push there agenda on the American public.
Adult Written byYoungparent January 21, 2019

Terrible - trying to hard

This movie starts off well, light and funny , I was hoping for homeward bound or a milo and Otis style film. It quickly morphs into a social justice showcase and really macabre film . All the couple are black and white , i get it but every single family ?? Gay couple , check! Guess what they are black and white . Homeless man dying and chaining the dog to himself for a couple days , kids find the body , that’s awesome ! Gave my kid nightmares , thanks Sony for wasting my time and money! Horrible storyline, bad acting and characters , Sony you are pathetic quit brainwashing our kids . Would never see this again and tell everyone how awful it is !
Adult Written byhapamamajuls January 17, 2019

Terrible. Audible sobbing throughout the theater!

Marketing this movie to children is crazy. The themes are so adult. It felt as though the creators sat in a room and listed all the horrible things that can happen TO AN ADULT and threw a really cute dog in there and made a movie. There were two children audibly crying in the row behind us because of the drama. I laugh reading other reviewers being offended that there is a homosexual couple in the movie, as that was the most uplifting part since they showed kindness in rescuing the dogs and a dying man! There were so many depressing things in this movie- watching animals get hunted, a man who dies tethered to the dog, avalanche nearly killing someone, multiple wolf attacks, getting hit by a car... it just went on and on and on. The one perk? An adorable dog.
Adult Written bycathleen49 January 12, 2019

a good movie

There were some tense scenes where you worried about the dog, but my kids aged 6.5 and almost 8 both really liked it. My youngest is obsessed with cats and loved how the cats/kittens/cougar. He goes to movies often but sat through this one with the least wiggling I've ever seen in a theater. He's pretty sensitive but really enjoyed it. Younger kids with small attention spans may not do as well. Not really sure that I understand the review that said the movie was too liberal and political...maybe they're referring to the same sex couple in a portion of the movie, but as far as my kids knew they were just roommates. There weren't any hugely affectionate scenes with any couples, straight or gay in the movie. Even in the end they obviously show the main character and his girlfriend got married by featuring a wedding photo prominently before they ended up with a very basic cuddle in bed with the dog.
Parent Written byKSE January 19, 2019

Not liberal proganda

I took my 12 year old twins to see this movie and they loved it. I looked at the reviews on common sense media and was shocked at what people were saying! I thought the movie did not promote a liberal agenda at all. Yes, there was a gay couple in the movie but I think it is important for kids to see different kinds of families. I also liked the honest portrayal of the lives of veterans. Kindness and empathy are important in this day and age!
Adult Written bykjlnm January 12, 2019

Warm-hearted and magical

I just saw the film with my kids (ages 5 and 7) and we all really enjoyed it. The pup was cute, and there were lots of good messages about treating animals kindly and having empathy for others. There were some perilous scenes but they were much less intense than the review here suggested. (Before the movie, I reminded the kids the film has a happy ending, so they weren't really bothered by the scenes.) There is a gay couple in the film that is presented positively, which is a bonus in my perspective. :) Disabled veterans were portrayed sensitively, too. I appreciate the filmmakers' attention to diversity.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byNMMari January 20, 2019

Not for young children

My 7 year old was devastated by this movie, everything was way too intense - this is not a family movie. The dog is in constant peril. And -spoiler alert - just when you think she makes it across the highway that is super scary - she gets hit. Her being chained to a dead veteran was too much. Plus the additional left propoganda - developers are evil, hunters are evil, pit bulls are being picked on, old people are a waste - give up on them, let's through in a gay couple - certainly everyone has discussed homosexuality with their young children. I also thought it was wrong for the filmmakers to have the family breaking the rules of their lease - not being allowed to have dogs - If they wanted they dog, they should move, not make show that it is okay to break rules. Where is the respect for the landlord? The only saving grace is showing the struggles of military veterans and a police officer that is reasonable. This movie was made by a bunch of liberal brats

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byATillotson1963 January 18, 2019

Too perilous for young children

The commercials make this look like a lovely, feel good movie, but it is anything but. Peril begins for approx 2 mins into the movie and doesn't stop until approx 2 mins til the ending. My 13 yr old cried all the way through and wept bitterly in parts. Now, he LOVED the movie, but we both cried for most of the way through due to situations Bella was in. I wouldn't subject him to this one again, despite the fact that he says it was his favorite.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness