<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Charles Martin Smith. Starring Ashley Judd, Edward James Olmos, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, John Cassini, Chris Bauer, Bryce Dallas Howard & Shelby

Running time: 1 hour 37 minutes


As a dog lover I’m obviously biased but if they made a bad dog film I’d rip it apart. But A Dog’s Way Home turned out to be a lot more thrilling and smarter than I expected it to be. 

The film is more than just a tale of a lost dog coming back home. It’s an adventure that takes one of god’s finest creatures through nature and the people living in it. It shows us human kindness as well as the inhumanity of so-called civilisation. It tackles the plight of the homeless in America, the inane laws that make it illegal to own a pit bull in some states (but of course, owning a gun is perfectly legal), the psychological impact of war on veterans and so much more.


I wasn’t too sure about the voiceover relaying beautiful Bella’s (Shelby) thoughts at first. But as the film progresses, the voiceover by Bryce Dallas Howard turns out to be the conscience of the movie, the humourand the heart. Without it, we’d only get half the story. It never patronisesyou by explaining everything.

Young Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) adopts Bella and bonds with her. His mother (Ashley Judd) rises from her post-combat depression and even takes Bella along with her to the war veterans’ hospital where the doggie brings a smile to their faces doing a lot more to make them feel better than any amount of therapy or medication.


Unfortunately, a bad guy and Animal Control threaten to take Bella – a ‘dangerous’ breed that is illegal in the state of Colorado. A series of events unfolds where Bella must escape and ‘Go Home’, which leads her to a two-year journey across states to find her ‘person’.

During this journey you don’t see what Lucas and his mother are going through and, in a sense, I like that. It just focusses on Bella and the people she meets in a way showing us the truth behind what people say: you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat animals.


Some of the CGI shots are not so great, but you’ll overlook that considering how touching all of this is. You’d have a heart of stone not to shed a tear by the end. But it’s a happy end, so don’t worry.

PS: Let’s hope this film shows people in America the ills of hunting and the stupidity of the animal laws they have.  

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