Movie review: Hachiko: A Dog's Story

Based on a true story, Hachiko tells the tale of an akita named Hachiko. On the way home from work one day, college professor Parker (Richard Gere) found a puppy wandering around a train platform. The train station attendant (Jason Alexander) can't keep the dog at the station so Parker brings him home. When the owner can't be found, his wife, Cat (Joan Allen), reluctantly allows him to keep little Hachi. Soon Hachi and Parker form a strong bond. Hachi walks Parker to the train station every morning and greets him at the same station every evening. When Parker suddenly dies at school, Hachi is devastated. He continues to wait for Parker to return from work, despite the family's efforts to deter the behavior. Ten years later, Hachi dies at the train station - still waiting for his master.

I've wanted to see this movie for awhile. My family owns a shiba inu, which is similar in appearance to an akita. Despite knowing how the movie ends (it's a true story so it's kinda like knowing how Titanic ends), I still found myself crying as Hachi desperately waited for Parker to return. Granted, you need to overlook a few things in order to truly enjoy the movie. Cate, Parker's wife, is pretty terrible in the beginning. Since she's not a main character, you don't get to see her change. She's set up as an antagonist for Hachi and Parker and, while that softens a bit, there isn't a turn around for her. Sure, we feel bad for her by the end...but we kinda feel bad for everyone, not just her.

So, if you love dogs and are willing to shed a few tears by the end of the night, snuggle up with your furry friend and pop in the DVD. However, if you aren't in it for the heartwarming story, there isn't any other reason to watch it. Since it's basically the story of a man and his dog, you'd probably find yourself bored before it reaches the halfway mark.