Photos of Joan Allen, Richard Gere, and Sarah Roemer smiling overlaid at the top; Hachi the dog sitting with a brick mansion in the background


Title: Hachi: A Dog’s Tale
Released: 2009

Fix: You Like to Cry, Right?
Platform: Netflix

Netflix Summary:

When his master dies, a loyal pooch named Hachiko keeps a regular vigil — for more than a decade — at the train station where he once greeted his owner every day in this touching drama based on a true story.

FYA Summary:

One of the books I recently reviewed had mentioned the story of Hachikō, which prompted me to check out this movie. It’s based on the true story of, like, the most famous dog in Japan. (More on that later.)

The movie opens with a young boy telling his classmates about his hero: his grandfather’s dog, Hachikō. This is met with laughter, because kids are the worst.

Anyway, so grandpa is Parker, a college professor who finds an Akita puppy (soooooo cute!) at a train station. With no one else able to look after it, Parker takes the puppy home ‘just for one night’ — and we all know how that’ll go, right? As the years pass, Hachi develops a habit of following Parker to the train station in the mornings, and returning in the afternoon to walk home with his master. 

Keep in mind that the main character is a dog, and the movie follows the dog’s entire life. So… expect tears, is what I mean.

Familiar Faces:

Hachikō in his later years

Several dogs as Hachi(kō)

Cliff’s Notes version: Hachikō is very adorable and very loyal. (And if y’all are familiar with the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark” — yeah. It’s like that. But REAL.) 

Hachikō is so famous in Japan that there are multiple bronze statues of his likeness, including one near a railway station entrance that’s named after him. And each year, hundreds of dog lovers attend a ceremony in his honour at that same station. In case it wasn’t obvi, Hachikō’s a very big deal. 

Richard Gere as Parker

It’s the star of many an ’80s/’90s fantasy daydream, Richard Gere! He likes puppies, and puppies like him. 

Joan Allen as Cate

Joan Allen plays Parker’s initially disapproving wife, Cate. She comes around, though. How could she not — Hachi’s amaaaazing!

(If you haven’t figured it out by now — yes, I’m using all these Familiar Faces to put more photos of Akita dogs in this post. But somehow, I don’t think you’ll mind.)

Sarah Roemer as Andy

Sarah Roemer plays Parker and Cate’s daughter Andy, who clearly didn’t need to be won over. Roemer has been in a few things I have no interest in seeing, like Disturbia and The Event. But let’s be honest; I know her from Fired Up!.

Erick Avari as Jasjeet

I feel like I’ve seen Erick Avari in everything. Other than a photo with Hachi, anyway. Avari plays a kindly street vendor who watches out for Hachi at the train station. And feeds him hot dogs — which may not be nutritionally correct, but Jasjeet means well. 

Jason Alexander as Carl

Ugh — sorry, laughing kids, because it’s actually Carl who works at the train station that’s the worst. But it’s also because of him that Hachi and Parker ended up together, so at least his slimey-ness served a purpose.

Couch-Sharing Capability: How Do You Feel about Displays of Uncontrollable Crying?

Like, in terms of both witnessing and being witnessed? I saw it alone, but let me tell ya: I was full-on SOBBING. And — this admission will endear me to absolutely no one — I’m not an animal lover AT ALL.* With the high tear-inducing potential, you probaby don’t want to see this movie with company. But I don’t know your life. Or the water solubility of your makeup.

* Let the record show that I don’t hate animals. I just don’t like them. And no, I wouldn’t change my mind if only I met your dog/cat/tarantula. It took me until a couple of years ago to even decide on my favourite animals (those being giraffes and sharks).

Recommended Level of Inebriation: It Depends

Does alcohol numb your sadness? Or does it cheer you up? You don’t really need a drink to enjoy this movie (although it does start kind of slow), but you might want one afterwards.

Use of Your Subscription: Good

This is just a sweet, simple story of pure love and loyalty. In other words, it’s freaking beautiful. Just make sure to have some tissues at the ready.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.