Review: A Dog’s Way Home

A new movie directed by Charles Martin Smith, A Dog’s Way Home,”  hit theatres last month. The film tells the story of Bella, a rescued pitbull stray that is taken home into the arms of her owner, Lucas, and his mother. The film takes place in Denver, Colorado, where the ownership of pitbulls is against the law. The ownership of Bella is known by the local animal control and frowned upon to a point where the animal control goes out of their way to capture Bella at any moment they can, creating conflict and grabbing the audience’s attention.

One day, Bella escapes from the house in a chase for a squirrel when she is caught by animal control and brought to the pound. Lucas receives a fine and bails out Bella for the day; unfortunately, Lucas is told that if this happens again Bella will be put down. As tensions stir, and the stakes for Bella being captured are high, Lucas decides to take her to another home in Farmington, New Mexico, which is 200 miles away from Denver. Dropping her off and returning back to Denver, Lucas leaves Bella in the hands of family friends. Then one day, Bella seeks an opportunity to escape the house, marking the beginning of her two year journey back home.

Along the way Bella befriends a cougar, other dogs, a homeless man and other families who all help her along the way during her adventure. The film has multiple scenes where it highlights just how much of an impact animals have on their owners, as well as the impact owners have on their pets.

“The movie does a very good job of telling a story with multiple scenes that grab your attention,” senior Rebecca Ustich said. “Some of the scenes even make you upset because of the different situations the dog goes through on her journey.”

An aspect that seemed to stand out in the film are scenes where there is a huge emphasis on a VA hospital in the town. The hospital is a war veteran rehabilitation center, a place where war veterans are treated from the physical and mental damage of war. There are parts of the movie where Bella is introduced to the veterans and creates an environment that fades from depression and escapes to a world of enlightenment.

“I really liked at the end of the movie how it shows how Bella’s presence in the hospital became a normal occurrence,” senior Cole Kazakeich said. “The hospital made dogs who help the veterans a part of the hospital environment because of the impact Bella had on the veterans. It was nice to see a scene like that in the movie.”

Bella is voiced by actress Bryce Dallas Howard, who narrates throughout the entire movie. The supporting character, Lucas, is played by actor Jonah-Hauer King.

“I saw it with my family and liked it more than I thought I would,” junior Adalia Tate said. “I usually don’t like animal movies, but this one was better than expected.”

From my personal experience, I would give the film 3.5/5 stars because of the movie follows tropes and is often predictable for the audience. Though it is a bit cliche, it can be a film that is enjoyed by many animal lovers