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Director Lasse Halstrom gets critical praise for “A Dog’s Purpose”


One of the world’s most renowned directors, Lasse Halstrom is best known to audiences as the maker of such poignant but resolutely unsentimental films as My Life as a Dog, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and The Cider House Rules.

His newest film, A Dog’s Purpose shares the heartwarming and surprising story of one devoted dog who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.

The director claims it is no accident he was attracted to the material: “I made two movies about dogs previously—My Life as a Dog and Haichi—so this is my third dog story. If you have an interest in outsiders and emotions that seems irrational to humans, you can certainly relate to a dog’s feelings and a dog’s life.”

Related stories: Beloved bestseller “A Dog’s Purpose” now a heartwarming film

Hallström’s valentine to man’s best friend has been rewarded with praises from US critics, led by Joe Morgenstern of Wall Street Journal, who applauds, “A Dog’s Purpose left me cherishing my borderline-venerable Skeezix; longing to see Scamp and Fluff and Sukoshi and Sally, the dear departed dogs of my life; and wishing I could have been reincarnated as a better master than I was.”

Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly, attests, “Purpose plays like a family film from another era, its gentle sensibilities a million miles removed from the winky pop culture references and meta layers of most modern all-ages entertainment.”


“The film is both heartwarming and soul-shattering,” writes Ariel Scotti of New York Daily News. “Its theme of an unbreakable bond between man and his best friend is reminiscent of My Dog Skip, Homeward Bound and Old Yeller.

Frank Scheck of Hollywood Reporter, opines, “While the human performers are more than adequate, there’s no doubt that the canine stars carry the day. Their utter irresistibility helps a long way.”

Andrew Barker of Variety, comments, “It’s hard to fault the movie’s earnestness; Hallström’s canine cinema pedigree shows through; and Rachel Portman’s score is understandably sentimental without going completely saccharine.”

This image released by Universal Studios shows John Ortiz in a scene from "A Dog's Purpose." (Joe Lederer/Universal Studios via AP)
This image released by Universal Studios shows John Ortiz in a scene from “A Dog’s Purpose.” (Joe Lederer/Universal Studios via AP)

Finally, Tom Russo of Boston Globe offers this one-liner: “It’s a weepie that can be tough to resist.”

Based on author W. Bruce Cameron’s beloved best-selling novel, A Dog’s Purpose stars Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, Peggy Lipton and John Ortiz.

See also: Josh Gad lends voice to Bailey, the narrator in “A Dog’s Purpose”

Over the course of five decades, a single voice—that of an indefatigable dog—takes us along a riveting and uplifting path that speaks to the heart of anyone who has ever loved an animal. Although he is reincarnated in the bodies of multiple canines through the years, it is his unbreakable bond with a kindred spirit named Ethan that carries and inspires one dog throughout his journey to find a true purpose for his boy.

Opening across the Philippines on March 1st, A Dog’s Purpose is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.



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