Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

“Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” is an American adaptation of a true Japanese tale about a loyal dog named Hachiko. This Akita would walk with his master to the train station every day and return each afternoon just before he arrived to greet him. Sadly, his master departs one day, dies at work and never returns to the station. Hachiko faithfully returns to the station the very next day, and every day for the next nine years to wait for his beloved master. During his daily visits, Hachiko touches the lives of many who work near and commute through the town square. He teaches the local people with his devotion, love, compassion and above all unyielding loyalty. Today, a bronze statue of Hachiko sits in his waiting spot outside the Shibuya station in Japan as a permanent reminder. Directed by Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules, My Life as a Dog).

Rating: 8 out 0f 10

Family films don’t often make their way into my Blu-ray player. But when I saw the trailer for this touching story, I had to give it a shot.

This is a very simple picture, one of faith, love, and unending loyalty. A man and his dog walk to the train station every day. One day, the man dies and never returns. For the next ten years, the dog comes back daily. Waiting.

This movie looks straight into the heart ache of loss. Hachi naturally doesn’t understand his master is never returning, but it forces others around him to face their loss straight on. Richard Gere stars in the American adaptation of this story and brings a charm needed to make this story click. The true tale of Hachiko happened in 1930’s Japan — his name in Japanese means “eight,” a celestial number because it touches heaven and comes back to earth. Despite the cultural and date differences, the updating of this story does no harm to the real story.

Hallström is a sharp director who brings us a movie that is hard at times to watch, exceptionally honest, emotional, and all while taking on a very simple concept. It’s not what you’d expect from a G-rated movie that was poorly marketed in the States as a family movie (should have been targeted to art house-going dog lovers). Some critics say this movie generates “Awww” from people, as if that’s a bad thing. The idea of art is to get you to react, to feel something, and this movie does. But while I recognize this film is not for everyone — young kids may be bored — I’d highly recommend it for families and dog lovers.

For more information on Hachiko, visit www.forensicgenealogy.info/contest_232_results.html

The real Hachiko, who lived from 1923 until 1935 in Japan.


2 responses to “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale

  1. This reminds me that great films can be made about animals. Babe anyone?

  2. This isn’t quite on the level of Babe. Different kind of movie. Good, but different.

    This is based on a true story, and has a very different style. Babe was great, though. Love that movie.

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