Movie Spotlight: A Dog's Purpose

Movie Spotlight: A Dog's Purpose

Disclaimer: This review contains the subject of dog deaths and domestic violence. If you haven’t seen the movie, be warned this review also has thorough spoilers so you may want to revisit this review after you watch the movie depending on your preference.

The entire film is told from the perspective of a dog, voiced by Josh Gad who may be known best for voicing Olaf the snowman in Disney’s Frozen. For starters, that casting choice was amazing. Josh Gad has such a friendly voice that it makes sense you’d apply that to the role of a pup.

At the beginning, we’re introduced to this nameless pup that goes through reincarnations. With each passing, he is reborn as another pup with the same memory, outlook, and questions about life. Without giving too much of the juice that makes this story so sweet, this pup eventually is taken in by a family with a little boy named Ethan. Now, the pup has a name.


A Golden Retriever, Bailey recognized Ethan as his person and Ethan’s parents as part of the pack with the father as the pack leader. As Ethan grows older and is in his high school years, it becomes more apparent his father lacks stability. His father takes on drinking and rough handles Ethan’s mother. At this point, Ethan loses his patience and turns his father away from the house with Bailey at his and his mother’s side for comfort.

They continue to live in their home. Ethan is ready to go to college to play football until a jealous colleague sparks an accident leading to flames engulfing their home. Bailey assumed the role of heroic doggo and wakes up Ethan and his mother who were both sleeping. They all make it out a second story window safely except for Ethan who experienced a leg injury. This ultimately holds him back from pursuing football, but with time he healed and he left for college, leaving Bailey and his mother behind at his grandparents’ home.

Days go by and Bailey is lonely and grows weaker with each passing moment.

We knew what the premise of this movie was but even we weren’t prepared to watch this scene. Ethan meets his family at the vet where Bailey is put to sleep.

Not all is lost.

The plot is this pup is reborn into different lives so we’re whisked into new adventures from Bailey becoming a police dog to Bailey enduring a rough life with neglectful owners and more. However, with the neglectful owners came opportunity.

Bailey was free and followed scents taking him back to where he belonged: with Ethan.

Adult Ethan, played by Dennis Quaid, initially doesn’t take in the new dog on the property because unbeknownst to him… that dog was actually Bailey. Ethan drops Bailey off at the shelter, but after one night of eating dinner alone and pondering, he returns to adopt his new-old friend.

From this moment on, it’s Bailey’s mission to help Ethan find happiness and somehow put the message out there I’m Bailey! It’s me, Ethan!

A Dog’s Purpose was a brilliant narrative for dogs and how they play into our happiness unconditionally. There’s really no way to watch this movie with a dry eye, so you may want to prepare some tissues. The only issue we found was the ending felt incredibly rushed, but there’s probably a good reason why it had that effect on us. There was so much life infused in Bailey’s adventures you didn’t want it to stop, and having put us through so many dog deaths in the movie, it’s safe to say they wanted to give us a happy ending without subjecting us to that again.

This movie isn’t for everyone.

We actually were hesitant to watch it knowing we would face the subject of dog death’s, so if you for some reason read this review but want to avoid dog death’s in movies at all costs, this is your best friend:
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