Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Hachiko: A Dog's Story (2009)

Hachiko, an Akita Inu, is the subject of the 2009 film "Hachiko: A Dog's Story". It's directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Richard Gere and Joan Allen. Of course, this movie is based upon the life of the real Hachiko of Japan and his devotion to Professor Hidesaburo Ueno.

The story began, as any dog story does, when the man meets the dog. In this particular movie, a professor (played by Gere) formed a strong bond with an Akita Inu puppy named Hachiko. This bond was so strong that as an adult dog, Hachiko accompanied the professor to the train station on his way to work, went back home to wait, and then came back to the train station to accompany the professor back home in the afternoon. One day, Hachiko went to the train station to wait for the professor, but he never came back. He had died while teaching a class. Despite his passing, Hachiko continued to go to the train station to wait for the professor until he died ten years later. The movie ended, as extraordinary dog stories do, with a bittersweet tone. The faithful dog was reunited with his human at last.

It was heartbreaking to see Hachiko go to the station everyday, waiting for the professor, and living off the food and water given by the train station manager, the hotdog vendor, and the butcher. The daughter had good intentions when she let him go back to wait at the train station, but it was hard for me to watch as the dog made a broken carriage his home rather than go back to her house (I think it hurt me more to see that the daughter didn't even go to the station to collect him in the evening). No animal should have been abandoned by his family like that.

As I grabbed the remote to change the channels, my tears continued to flow for this very loyal dog (this, despite having cats as pets). Although my cats don't walk with me to and from the train station, I always see them run to the gate to welcome me (and the car) home and they do walk with me for two blocks on days when I don't drive.

If ever I wouldn't return, I certainly would love it if someone would take care of them.