A Dog's Purpose

A Dog's Purpose

Lasse Hallström (2017)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Imagine Look Who's Talking, but instead of a baby voiced by Bruce Willis, it's a pooch continually reincarnated as different breeds of man's best friend (and voiced by Beauty and the Beast's Josh Gad). We first meet Bailey when he's a retriever pup bonding with troubled kid Ethan, the pair becoming inseparable until the mutt passes on. But instead of heading to that big kennel in the sky, he's reborn as a female German shepherd police dog. And so it goes on, tugging at heartstrings with each passing death and subsequent return. Director Lasse Hallström cranks up the schmaltz at every opportunity, and while the parade of canines is undeniably adorable, there's little substance to the journey, the "purpose". Were it played for bigger laughs, with successive Baileys getting into all manner of scrapes, it may have made a decent comedy, rather than a baffling existential weepie that ultimately ends up chasing its own tail.


A dog is reincarnated as different breeds over several generations, with multiple owners and with a variety of names, but he is fated to be reacquainted, decades later, with his original owner. Comedy drama, starring Dennis Quaid, with the voice of Josh Gad.

Cast & Crew

Teen Hannah Brittany Robertson
Adult Ethan Dennis Quaid
Bailey / Buddy / Tino / Ellie Josh Gad
Adult Hannah Peggy Lipton
Teen Ethan K J Apa
Carlos John Ortiz (1)
Ethan, aged 8 Bryce Gheisar
Elizabeth, Ethan's mom Juliet Rylance
Jim, Ethan's dad Luke Kirby
Todd Logan Miller
Director Lasse Hallström
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Entertainment OneAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 5 May 2017
Drama Comedy