<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Gail Mancuso. Starring Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Kathryn Prescott, Betty Gilpin, Henry Lau, Josh Gad

Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes


A Dog’s Way Home was only a few weeks ago so I was both excited and anxious about watching A Dog’s Journey. As a pet parent I get even more sensitive when I see doggie death or doggie cruelty, but thankfully both these films handled these issues sensibly and keeping the said sensitive viewers in mind.

A Dog’s Journey is a sequel to A Dog’s Purpose that has a similar theme: canine reincarnation. Best buddy Bailey keeps coming back as different doggies to be part of his boy Ethan’s (Dennis Quaid) life. In Journey, this purpose is transferred when Ethan tells a dying Bailey to look out for his grand daughter CJ (Kathryn Prescott) who needs him more. And the trusty, ever-faithful Bailey obeys as he takes the shape of Molly, then Big Dog and then Max. Of course, for that to happen the previous doggie needs to pass away and go to those happy grounds where they can frolic forever if they’ve fulfilled their purpose.


Josh Gad voices the doggie well. There’s plenty of wit and sarcasm to break the very serious and sometimes somber story. CJ’s mom Gloria – whose husband passed away and is the son of Ethan and Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) – is an alcoholic who doesn’t take good care of her. CJ has terrible taste in boyfriends as well and no self-esteem or confidence. She makes excuses for not performing on stage and delays her dream of becoming a singer. Through all her hardships, her doggie remains a trusted friend though. And of course, her childhood BF Trent (Henry Lau).

The fact that the dog comes back again makes their death easier on the viewer. I also like that in A Dog’s Journey there is very little use of CGI, with most of the film having a dog do tricks and perform on command rather than replacing it to do things requiring CGI like they did in A Dog’s Way Home.


The human story is about relationships, a lack of purpose in life, which contrasts well with the fact that dogs know exactly what they have to do in their life: take care of their people and lick and play with them!

While some of the human tragedy is quite simplistic like the treatment of a character who gets cancer, it is suitably stirring and engaging. A Dog’s Journey is never about the destination, the achievement of money or fame; it’s about living in the moment and enjoying the person you’re with, being faithful and happy. If only more people could learn this trick.

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