Although this is a movie with Richard Gere, it is definitely NOT about Richard Gere. Rather, this is about an Akita, adopted by a kindly professor. This is not an animal tale where the dog “speaks” through creepy animated lips. It is a movie with simple themes: grief, canine loyalty, progression of time and death. I am not spoiling the movie (the trailers show much of the plot) by saying that the dog is “adopted” by Richard Gere”s character. Gere and the dog develop a special relationship, one not shared by Gere’s wife (played by Joan Allen).The dog waits outside the train station each night for him to return from work. One day, he does not return, and Haichi just waits…..and waits.

“Hachi” is based on a true story from the 1920′s, and this movie is a remake of a 1987 Japanese movie called “Hachiko Monogatari”.

I can’t say the movie is a blockbuster. In fact, it by-passed the theaters and went straight to DVD. “Hachi” is very sentimental, but not the kind of sentimental one usually sees in these types of films. It is not gushy nor will you hear swelling music or slo-mo scenes of Haichi and his master cavorting on the beach. Gere “shines” during his time on screen, and supporting characters played by Erick Avari and Jason Alexander give solid performances. I found Joan Allen, as Gere’s wife, to be somewhat distracting. But, for anyone who loves dogs, and believe animals exhibit the human feelings of loss, this is a three-hankie can’t be missed.

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