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Recommended age 12-18
109 minutes
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The film A Dog's Journey, directed by Gail Mancuso, is the most heartwarming, tear-jerking, wholesome film yet to hit the theaters. This movie (the sequel to A Dog's Purpose directed by Lasse Hallstr´┐Żm) is much better than the original film, because it incorporates characters from the previous film as well as adding a whole new plot. The film is about a dog (Josh Gad) named Bailey (initially) and the many lives he experiences while trying to help and protect toddler Clarity Kathryn Prescott) from unnecessary hardships.

My favorite part is when Bailey does a major chase throughout a neighborhood in New York City in order to reunite with Clarity for the second time. The tension as well as the suspense of Bailey being lost for even just a split second, and then the progression of Bailey's character conveyed through his determination to make it to Clarity ties the movie together. This event effortlessly launches us into the next plot twist which is a key detail that I love even though it is a small event (timewise).

My least favorite thing about the film is the slow-paced beginning. I was so excited to finally get a sequel to the amazing original film, but the beginning is unnecessarily lengthy. A movie that good doesn't need the cushion of a background story, especially since we already have the previous film to refer to.

I give A Dog's Journey 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, although adults are sure to love this movie as well. You can catch this movie in theaters near you starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I absolutely love the emotional journey that Bailey takes in this film! Bailey's sense of humor shines throughout the film as he tries to make sense of the actions of his various owners and his meaning in life. He balances his purpose with his love for bacon and all disgusting smells.

A Dog's Journey continues with the story of Bailey and the humans in his life. His relationship continues with Ethan on the farm until Ethan gives him a new purpose which is to protect Ethan's granddaughter, C. J. Bailey goes through many changes and continues to be puzzled by humans. He protects C. J. at any cost from the time she is a toddler through her adult experiences. Some of my favorite scenes are those where he deliberately misbehaves or manipulates to get rid of her boyfriend Barry. Bailey gathers people into his human packs and eliminates others that don't belong.

Bailey's voice is portrayed by Josh Gad who has a brilliant sense of comedic timing and he adds so much humor and depth to Bailey's character. W. Bruce Cameron who wrote the book, also worked on the screenplay. Dennis Quaid returns to the role of Ethan and the movie just wouldn't be the same without him. Casting is by John Papsidera and the entire cast is talented and works together seamlessly in their humorous and very touching roles under the guidance of Director Gail Mancuso.

The message of this film is to find meaning in your life experiences. In all of Bailey's lives he learns things which fulfill his purpose and allow him to find meaning in his actions with his humans. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, joy, love, tears and bacon.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, but of course adults will definitely enjoy it too. This movie opens nationwide in theaters May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

A Dog's Journey is my second favorite reincarnating dog movie. Opening this week, it is a sequel to the 2017 film, A Dog's Purpose. It's much like the first one with plenty of cute doggie screen time and Buster who dotes.

One strength, compared to the original, is that it spends more time on one particular canine / human relationship rather than jumping around to lots of new people. For a movie for dog lovers, this sure shows a lot of dog deaths. As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old St. Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog's spirit to watch over his granddaughter C.J. throughout her life. That's exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Molly to help C.J. as a child, next as a terrier named Max who helps teen and adult C.J. (Catherine Prescott).

Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed in which his spirit is currently living. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans aided by Mark Isham's sentimental musical score. This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it's based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. For example, one character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There's also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.

The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen in your life. You need to surround yourself with people who you care about. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 but, adults will like it too if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog's Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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A dog finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he meets.
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