Parents' Guide to

The Stray

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Faith-based family drama could distress dog lovers.

Movie PG 2017 92 minutes
The Stray Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 28 parent reviews

age 10+


This movie was gifted to my family for Christmas as a family bonding opportunity. (Family movie night). Besides the fact that the movie had very little character building the movie was devastating. Yes while these are real life issues that need to be addressed and discussed, right before bed for a "family movie night" is not the time or the place. Not your feel good film of the year!
age 7+

Excellent movie

My 12 year old granddaughter loves this movie and wanted to watch it with me. I loved it too... lots of meaning. How God brings a dog to them. The power of prayer and how important family is.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (28 ):
Kids say (7 ):

While the first half of the movie is a wholesome, uplifting family drama, the second half is full of seemingly never-ending distress for dog-loving audiences. There are some things to like about The Stray -- despite Mitch's work-life balance issues and Christian's initial lack of friends, the Davises have a strong, faithful family (Davis is Mormon in real life, but the on-screen Davis family is depicted as Christian, without any specific reference to a particular denomination). The movie's faith-based aspect is downplayed but present in prayers and the subtle message that Pluto was sent to the family by God. But secular families who love dogs might still find the movie appealing ... at least at first.

Cunningham and Lancaster do their best with the script's sentimental material, but there are some head-scratching moments that will force moviegoers to suspend their disbelief one too many times. For instance, it's an admittedly nitpicky detail, but any family camper knows you don't fire up a portable gas burner inside a tent. But pretty much everything that happens on the fateful backpacking trip Mitch takes with Christian and his two friends is difficult to process or believe. And Mitch and the boys' behavior after a catastrophic event just doesn't make any sense. From there, the rest of the movie is a long, painful ordeal -- every scene a strange reminder of what was lost on the camping trip.

Movie Details

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