I always like supporting local films of quality when I get the chance and the recent film The Stray is such a film. It’s a little hard to talk about without spoilers but it follows the longstanding cinematic tradition of heartfelt stories about a boy and his dog except in this case it is an entire family and their dog.
The premise is a couple with 3 kids are struggling while the husband is working long hours in corporate Hollywood. His dream is to write screenplays but pursuing that dream is risky and the corporate approach seems safer. One ay busy with work he makes a promise to his son that they can have a dog if it is a stray that wanders onto their yard. Well, it just so happens that a dog does that very thing and this dog becomes ‘Pluto the Wonder Dog!’.
The family ends up moving to Colorado to start trying to save their marriage and family. You’ll have to watch the rest to see what happens.
There is no doubt The Stray has its heart in the right place and that gets it far. It’s funny because I’m not that fan of dogs in my real life but on the movies I love them. Everything from Old Yeller, to Sounder, to Where the Red Fern Grows are all emotional films led by dogs! This is also emotional and it is faith-based without being too heavy handed (there are no clergy ever seen mostly just a few prayers).
The emotion can be a bit of a double edged sword because The Stray is definitely a tearjerker. As I was leaving the theater a woman said ‘well, that was too sad for my taste’. I don’t mind sad movies but it definitely made me tear up. I guess go into it with the right expectations and attitude and you will probably enjoy it. It definitely might be too upsetting for very small children but could also lead to needed discussion about life, death and making time matter with those we love.
I really loved Sarah Lancaster and Michael Cassidy in the leads. They had chemistry and Sarah is a Hallmark pro so of course she is good! 😉 The kids are also pretty well cast and aren’t very grating.
It’s a short movie which helps to deal with the emotion. You aren’t dwelling on it too long.
Anyway, The Stray is a sold tearjerker for the entire family that I think is worth a watch.
Overall Grade- B-