A Dog’s Purpose Review


Malik Frierson

“A Dog’s Purpose” follows the exploits of a dog named Bailey as he reincarnates into different dog lives. Bailey is voiced by Josh Gad who is absolutely delightful in this role–bringing naivete, innocence and charm to each of the four-legged protagonists. Joining Gad are Dennis Quaid, John Ortis and Pooch Hall.


Bailey is on a multi-life quest to discover his own purpose. It’s a pleasant idea to use for storytelling, but it also manages to be a setback. The movie is undoubtedly focused on Bailey’s first life as the pet of a young boy named Ethan. The passage of time sees Ethan played by Bryce Gheisar as a boy, K.J. Apa as a teen and Dennis Quaid as an adult. The highlight of the three has to be Apa. His portrayal of the teenager is heartfelt and sympathetic. The entire first and third acts are focused on the relationship between the boy and his dog, and the interactions between the two are heartwarming, tear jerking and something special to watch as the two grow older.


Eventually, their time comes to an end, and Bailey is reincarnated. The movie’s shortcomings are most evident around this event. The pacing moves a little too fast through the dog’s other lives to really be fleshed out properly. In addition, more than a few of the other human characters that were meant to be sympathetic become forgettable as the movie continues on; due to so much of the focus being on Bailey and Ethan. These are very disappointing parts of the movie, but it doesn’t ruin the entire experience.


At the end of the day, “A Dog’s Purpose” is an enjoyable film; though albeit, it is far from perfect. The two leads do an excellent job and are sure to stir up emotions inside the viewer that will wet the eyes of dog lovers and film-goers alike.