Hachi: A Dog's Tale
by Phil Boatwright

I took the following synopsis and review from Amazon.com where the film can be purchased. I'm not stealing Ms. Horiuchi's work, just spotlighting it. If you purchase the DVD, you may wish to do so on Amazon.com.

"Based on a true story from Japan, Hachi: A Dog's Tale is a moving film about loyalty and the rare, invincible bonds that occasionally form almost instantaneously in the most unlikely places. College professor Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) finds a young Akita puppy that's been abandoned at the local train station, and he's instantly captivated by the dog. Assuming the dog's owner will return to the train station to claim him in the morning, Parker takes the puppy home overnight. But when no one comes to get the dog, Parker convinces his wife, Cate (Joan Allen), to welcome him as part of the family. He dubs the puppy Hachiko--Hachi, for short--because of the Japanese symbol for good luck that's hanging from his collar. Hachi is a somewhat peculiar dog that refuses to learn to fetch or master other people-pleasing tricks, but he is a faithful companion and friend to Parker, alerting him of potential dangers and accompanying him to the train station each morning and meeting him there after his return trip each evening. An unforeseen event will continually test Hachi's devotion. This film is neither overwrought nor sappy; it is heartfelt and immensely powerful despite its tendency to drag in a few places. Prepare to be moved to tears by this beautiful, seemingly simple film--it's about so much more than just the relationship between a man and his dog. --Tami Horiuchi."

My view: I've seen 'em all, from Lassie to My Dog Skip. I think this one is the best because there's no subplot with the animal saving the family from home invaders or romancing another canine over a bowl of spaghetti. It's a very simple story (though full of poignancy) about a man connecting with a dog. Truly one of God's greatest gifts to man, these creatures teach us so much about loyalty and the need for a forgiving nature. I know animals don't have souls, but I'm thinking our doggies from the past will be up in Heaven, waiting our arrival. Only difference – no leash laws. No need, if you get my meaning.

This is a clean movie, one that celebrates honorable themes. That said it will move you because it deals not just with life, but also with death. It may be disturbing for very little ones.

Rated G, I found noting objectionable. Beware: the subject of death of human and animal is dealt with, so you decide if the subject is okay for your children. I wouldn't let them watch it alone the first time. Be there so you can answer questions. Since death is a part of life, perhaps a viewing of such a film will generate an appreciation for loved ones and an awareness that they may not always be around.