Miracle Dogs

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Miracle Dogs Movie Poster Image
Heartwarming boy-and-dog story with life and death issues.
  • NR
  • 2007
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Validates the efforts of one person (in this case, a child) taking it upon him to defy authority in order to right a wrong. Promotes open-mindedness, charity, risk-taking, and resourcefulness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Charlie is easy for kids to identify with. Though he feels forced to be dishonest and sneaky, it's for an admirable cause. He consistently makes ethical choices. Charlie's persistent when it comes to rescuing animals that are in danger and is a brave risk-taker, intelligent and very compassionate. Though Charlie is unsupervised most of the time, his parents are otherwise caring, sensitive, and unselfish. Female characters are strong and respected. There's limited ethnic diversity among the players.

Violence

A dog is injured in an auto accident and is diagnosed with cancer. A girl is rushed into a hospital emergency room; it appears momentarily that she may be severely injured or near death. A mild fright occurs when a "scary" man finds Charlie in the hospital basement; he proves to be unthreatening and helpful.

Sex

Some chaste kisses between a husband and wife. Mildly flirtatious behavior when a doctor and patient fall in love.

Language
Consumerism

Much of the action takes place in the clearly identified Cleveland Clinic, a prestigious Ohio medical facility. Other visuals: Michelin tires, Metro Life Flight, and Nestle Ice Cream.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in the midst of the central heart-warming tale about a boy, adorable dogs, and medical "miracles," sub-plots of Miracle Dogs include grown-up issues such as: cancer, grief, euthanasia, joblessness, and the amputation of a dog's leg. And, until the main story is resolved, there is a constant threat of the animals being transferred to a place where they may be put to sleep. Though everything is predictably resolved and upbeat, suspenseful and sad events along the way are: a dog hit by a car then having his front leg amputated, a young tennis player who may be severely injured, a woman who refuses cancer treatment, and a man who describes his guilt over the death of his son.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bytooter scooter March 2, 2013

tooter scooter

the mom says that she is pregnant at the end of this touching tail... of a dog.

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What's the story?

When 10-year-old Charlie Logan (Josh Hutcherson in his first film role) moves to Cleveland with his family, he's shy, scared, and sad. He's further upset when his doctor dad (Ted Shackleford) accidentally hits a stray dog on the road. But "Annie" is as brave as they come -- though her injuries are easily repaired, the vet discovers that she has cancer and the dog's front leg must be removed to save her life. Unhappily, no pets are allowed in the Logans' new rental home, so after the successful surgery Annie is in danger of being warehoused with other strays. Charlie takes matters into his own hands and what follows is a series of adventures: a daring rescue, the discovery of Annie's four adorable puppies, dogs running amuck in the famed Cleveland Clinic, and a few wondrous "miracles." Inspired by a children's book: Annie Loses Her Leg but Finds Her Way, by Sandra Philipson.

Is it any good?

It's all soothingly predictable; everything's easily resolved and characters change for the better in the blink of an eye. But child actor Josh Hutcherson and the MIRACLE DOGS are marvels of cute, endearing innocence and good deeds. It's a fairy tale story in which the dogs appear to have magical healing powers, but other than a cursory explanation about the placebo effect of an animal's presence, there's no explanation for the miracles that happen.

Other troubled characters in a bevy of sub-stories have very grown-up issues at their core -- an odd combination of bitter and sweet. Still, if mild bouts of cancer, grief, guilt, and amputation aren't off-putting, the boy and his dogs are irresistible.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how caring for a pet helps us become more responsible. What does it feel like having something or someone dependent upon you? What do you get in return for your efforts?

  • Life's changes can be scary and yet beneficial at the same time. What changes have you and/or your family experienced (i.e., moving, new job, a new baby)? What have you learned from those changes?

  • Charlie seemed to be on his own a lot in this story, day and night. How realistic is that where you live? Do you think Charlie's parents should have been paying more attention?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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