Hachiko: A Dog’s Story (2009)

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story (2009)
  • Time: 93 min
  • Genre: Drama | Family
  • Director: Lasse Hallström
  • Cast: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Sarah Roemer


A schoolboy reports on his hero: Hachiko, his grandfather’s dog. In a flashback, a puppy at a Japanese monastery is crated and sent to the US. The crate’s tag tears, and when the puppy pushes his way out of the crate at the train station of a small Rhode Island town, Parker Wilson, a professor of music in nearby Providence, takes the dog home for the night. His wife isn’t happy about it, but after failing to find the owner, she lets the dog stay. A Japanese friend reads the dog’s tag – “Hachiko” or “Eight,” a lucky number. Parker can’t teach the dog to fetch, but the friend explains that the dog will forge a different kind of loyalty. Tragedy tests that loyalty.


  • This is one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. I could easily characterise it as my favorite one since it’s the only movie it’ve made cry for about 20 minutes. It’s a movie which can easily make you love animals and believe in dog’s royalty and all these stories have been told about it. It demonstrates the value of love without the demand of response, without conditions and selfishness. That’s a love that only a pure and kind animal like a dog can share. It’s almost impossible to be found in humans. That’s why when you are surrounded by dogs even homeless ones you can never feel lonely or abandoned. Because these cute creatures will treat you like you are their beloved king. Some people unfortunately take advantage of this. So please never treat with cruelty an animal because this is not what their pure loveful soul deserves. Just watch this movie and you’ll understand.

  • Hachiko: A Dog’s Story is a film based on a depressingly true story of an Akita dog whose unwavering loyalty to her master touched the lives of the people around her. Hachiko is found at a train station by Parker Wilson (Richard Gere), a university professor who reluctantly takes her in. Soon, Parker grows fond of his new pet, thus beginning a relationship which transcends a normal human-dog one.

    Directed by Lasse Hallstrom, the Oscar nominated filmmaker of The Cider House Rules (1999), and My Life As A Dog (1985), Hachiko: A Dog’s Story is simple in structure, and is one of the easiest films to follow and enjoy without much deliberation.

    Targeted at the dog-loving crowd, or anyone else with a fetish for cute, furry animals, the film does something no animated feature could ever hope to achieve – using a real-life (non-talking) dog as the focal point of the film without being bogged down by any exaggerated or fantastical caricature.

    Hallstrom employs a few techniques to humanize Hachiko – the most notable of which is his use of black-and-white cinematography to describe the dog’s colorless visual perspective. In addition, the director frequently brings the camera down to Hachiko’s line of sight, seemingly enlarging the world of urban civilization around her.

    Thus, the film centers on Hachiko as the lead character, and Parker as its supporting. In a surreal sequence towards the end of the film, Hachiko dreams of Parker. Once again, the dog-as-human theme is emphasized.

    The film has its moments of sentimentality, but those are fleeting ones; they do not culminate to give a powerful tearjerking experience as expected from a film of this nature. Such is the light-handed approach to capturing sympathy by Hallstrom that the essence of Hachiko’s story dissipates away from rather than coagulates in the viewer.

    On a positive note, the director’s handling of dogs in this film is top-notch. This is evident in the way he frames the creatures in his carefully composed shots. If only he tugged at our heartstrings instead of just merely caressing them, Hachiko: A Dog’s Story would have been, emotionally, a more effective picture.

    GRADE: B- (7/10 or 3 stars)

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