There are some movies you should be able to tell if you will enjoy it from the poster alone. A Dog’s Way Home is one of those movies. If the adorable image of the doggie inside a sneaker doesn’t make you go “awwwww” than this is probably not the movie for you; however, if it makes you get all warm and fuzzy than I think you’ll enjoy it.
A Dog’s Way Home is based on the novel by W. Bruce Cameron and follows the pattern of dog on a journey films such as Incredible Journey and Homeward Bound. (It’s much better than the recent A Dog’s Purpose, which kept killing off the dog 7 times!). Cute little Bella is born in an abandoned lot right across the street from a young man named Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) who is living with his mother Terri (Ashley Judd), a struggling Afghanistan veteran.
One day a very over-the-top mean property owner comes after Bella and her family of humans, and she ends up getting separated miles away from their home in Denver. Determined to ‘do home’ our intrepid dog spends 2.5 years traveling through Colorado meeting nice and not so nice people, and kind of raising a mountain lion along the way. Each step is as sweet and sentimental as you might guess, and I enjoyed it!
There are problems with the film. The CGI is atrocious especially for the mountain lion. This would perhaps be more forgivable if his role wasn’t so large. He’s in the movie for a pretty long stretch and it looks so bad.
Some may also find Bryce Dallas Howard’s precocious voice over for Bella to be a bit grating. Also there is a very weird subplot where Bella is used by a homeless veteran (Edward James Olmos) to help in his panhandling. He’s an unpleasant man who chains Bella down, which is upsetting but then it goes very dark with him. I’m not sure why this needed to be included? I guess it was supposed to show the bittersweet part of the adventure but instead it was awkward and uncomfortable. It’s the one part parents will have to have a discussion with their children about after seeing the film.
Other than that, A Dog’s Way Home is a perfectly sweet and enjoyable family film. If you have a dog or your kids dream of having a dog they will love it (my niece wants a dog so badly. Poor girl!). The acting is all solid and the message is heartfelt. It’s a movie that reminds us to be grateful for man’s best friend.
7 out of 10