For the Love of a Dog
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that For the Love of a Dog is a 2008 movie based on a true story about a community who joins together to raise money to help pay for the treatment of a family's beloved dog who is sick with cancer. While a mostly positive story about the importance of sacrifice for a greater good, there are some scenes of arguments between siblings and between parents and kids that might be a bit much for some viewers. Near the end of the movie, a little girl falls into a pool and nearly drowns; this abrupt side story might be jarring for families and scary for younger viewers.
What's the story?
The Harringtons are a typical American family struggling to make ends meet. Teen daughter Grace (Bridgette Potts) is constantly arguing with her parents and is angry that her family can't afford to send her to cheerleading camp. The Harrington kids are constantly bickering, and if that wasn't enough, their dog Semper is constantly causing trouble for their neighbor George O'Donnell (Sherman Hemsley). But when it's discovered that Semper has cancer and the family cannot afford the dog's treatment to make him better, the Harrington kids work together to raise money by sacrificing their time and their possessions. This spirit of selflessness spreads throughout their entire community, and before long, even grumpy George O'Donnell comes around to help.
Is it any good?
FOR THE LOVE OF A DOG is a feel-good movie that shows through example the importance of putting the concerns of others over your own selfish wants. While the lessons imparted are worthwhile, the movie itself is marred by amateurish acting and questionable side-stories that interfere with the film's central message. For instance, at the height of a yard sale where everyone in the community seems to be coming together for a greater good, a little girl sneaks away, falls into a pool, and nearly drowns. The scene comes out of nowhere, and nearly eliminates the previous 30 minutes of goodwill the characters had created between them.
Regardless, if you can overlook these problems, For the Love of a Dog's message of selfless giving shines throughout the movie. As the characters live out these values, the changes that come over them as the movie progresses make them positive role models.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's message. How does this film present positive values like teamwork and self-sacrifice?
What are some other positive values presented through example in this film?
Did this movies depiction of high school life seem realistic to you? Why or why not?