This movie is incredibly slow. We kept waiting for a plot to develop. When we finally figured out what was going to happen we had already wasted 45 minutes and it was going to be another 45 min of pain hoping it would get better. It totally changes the true story transporting it from Japan to America. It might have had a chance following the true story. As it is they made a boring,slow fantasy that is very,very sad. Not a family movie.
The story is moving and difficult. There are a lot of struggles in the relationships, between the professor, his wife, and Hachi, the dog. Hachi's faithfulness and devotion to his master help the professor and his wife to overcome their objections to having a dog (especially Hachi, who is very independent-minded at times). The development of the relationships over time is what makes the story wonderful. What makes it difficult is watching Hachi's decline after the death of the professor. I struggled with the ending. I know it is based on a true story, but the depiction of Hachi's final years seemed more dishonoring than honoring of his faithfulness. Where were the people who delighted in and indulged him earlier in the film? Why did they stop caring? Why was he abandoned to fend for himself? The ending raised all of those unanswered questions for me. It was a good movie; I just struggled with the inhumane element of the ending.