Hachi: A Dog's Tale Review

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A puppy is adopted by a music teacher (Gere) and shows an astonishing loyalty to his master, going to the station to see him off to work, and pick him up on his return, every day.


A remake of a 1987 Japanese film, based on a true story, this tear-jerker is all the more effective for underplaying its surefire man-and-dog romance and keeping Beethovenian hijinx to a minium.

Music teacher Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) brings home a mystery puppy, who has the Japanese character ‘hachi’ (eight) on his collar, and overcomes resistance from his wife (Joan Allen) before being allowed to keep him. Hachi becomes Parker’s constant companion, accompanying him to the station for his morning commute, waiting all day for him. Then, one day, Parker doesn’t come home …

Seriously, you’d have to be a clinical sociopath not to suffer a little eye-moistening in the last act. Lasse Hallstrom, a director it’s not cool to like, has more hits than misses on his resumé, and pitches this one perfectly.

Not a dry eye in the house - but not irritating schmaltz either.