Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Hachi: A Dog's Tale Movie Poster Image
Dramatic story of a dog's devotion is emotionally intense.
  • G
  • 2010
  • 93 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 28 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Reveals the deep relationship and commitment that can be maintained between a human and a pet. Clearly shows the value of respect between humans and between humans and their pets. Finds beauty in mutual love even after separation or death. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hachi is the headlining role model in this story; he is the picture of devotion. His owner, Parker, is ideal: generous, loyal, warm, loving, wise, and honest. All of the family relationships depicted -- husband and wife, mother and daughter, father and daughter, parents and son-in-law -- are admirable. When the human hero and his wife disagree, they show very positive ways of coping with their differences. 

Violence

A key player collapses and dies after suffering a heart attack.

Sex

A husband and wife share a romantic moment before heading to bed; we next see them cuddling later. In another scene, they appear to be preparing to bathe together.

Language
Consumerism

Yankees game and Yankees cap are featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine and champagne in the evening together. Daughter's fiancé brings beer to dinner and drinks a beer with his future father-in-law.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hachi: A Dog's Tale is the story of great love and respect between a college professor and the puppy he rescues on a snowy night. It's a very gentle film that quickly engages the audience as it introduces a heroic dog, a man with a loving heart, and an idyllic setting. That engagement intensifies emotions, which later carry the story through the years to its bittersweet conclusion. The movie is based the story of a dog who lived in Japan in the 1930s; a statue of the real Hachi remains in the Shibuya train station there. Spoiler alert: A major character dies, which is heartbreaking and likely to upset most kids and parents. Though the film has a "G" rating, it's best for kids who are comfortable with very sad events -- including death -- and the grief that accompanies those events.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBeckstar October 29, 2011

sad true story

A beautiful, but extremely sad true story about a dog devoted to his owner. I think it's ok for kids, but If It can make an adult bawl her eyes out, I... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byBella1612 September 18, 2010

So Sad!!!!!!

Such a good story! I was sobbing at the end of it.
Kid, 12 years old September 12, 2010

Good

This film is really heart-warming, I was close to tears by the end of it. It has good role models because the dog is very loyal to his owner,but...the sexual st... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old August 23, 2013

for mature kids like me

very good movie but for kids 7 and older

What's the story?

In the opening moments of HACHI: A DOG'S TALE, somewhere in a monastery in remote Japan a puppy dog is crated and shipped to the United States. But the Akita puppy's luggage tags are lost, and he ends up wandering the platform of the train station in Bedridge, Rhode Island. This is where music professor Parker Wilson (Richard Gere, in a sincere and nuanced performance) finds Hachi, as the symbol on his collar identifies him. It's the beginning of a lifelong, unwavering bond. As loyal and devoted as Parker is, Hachi's commitment to Parker is as steadfast and beautiful. Parker's wife, Cate (Joan Allen) though reticent at first, begins her own relationship with Hachi, as does the Wilson's grown daughter. For both the women it's comfortable, but Hachi is a one-man dog; Parker is his soul mate. Everyone in Bedridge's small town center watches with amazement as the years pass and every day Hachi arrives in time to meet his master's returning train. Spoiler alert: When tragedy strikes the family, everyone is devastated, and those left behind struggle to endure their great loss. But it's Hachi that teaches the family and everyone in Bedridge the true meaning of allegiance.

Is it any good?

Like a Zen meditation, this movie has a calm pace that soothes viewers. That is, until tragedy occurs and Hachi's true colors shine through. The story of the real Hachi in 1930s Japan has been relocated by director Lasse Hallstrom to the United States in the 21st century. That keeps the story relatable for modern, English-speaking audiences. Long recognized for his ability to bring emotion and conviction to his films, Hallstrom truly captures this dog's-eye view of life. The leisurely pace and the gracefully portrayed passage of time and the dog's maturation combine with the beautiful settings and natural performances to make this a memorable film. However, be prepared to shed a tear and perhaps deal with younger audience members' sensibilities. 

Talk to your kids 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 opens the gate to let Hachi decide to stay with her family or go off on his own. Given the circumstances, what else might she have done? Which of her alternatives was more loving? Which was more responsible? What would you do?

  • Do you agree with the MPAA "G" rating for this movie? What might the ratings board have taken into consideration before assigning that rating? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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