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Inu to watashi no 10 no yakusoku (10 Promises to My Dog)

Posted by martinteller on February 7, 2015

The story of Akari Saito (Mayuko Fukuda) and her beloved golden retriever, Socks.  Before Akari’s mother (Reiko Takashima) dies of cancer, she has Akari make ten promises to Socks, to understand her and be kind to her and appreciate her.  Akari is separated from Socks when her physician father (Etsushi Toyokawa) takes a prestigious university job, but they are reunited when the father decides to devote more time to his family.  Ten years later, Akari (Rena Tanaka) is studying to be a veterinarian and developing a romance with childhood friend Hoshi (Ryô Kase), and has less time for Socks.  Has she forgotten her promises?

Let’s be brutally frank here.  This is hardly great cinema.  Shamelessly manipulative (even in the music selections, with repeated use of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”) and ruthlessly sentimental, it trots out trope after trope.  Nothing is surprising, nothing is impressive, nothing is particularly insightful.  The acting is passable, but no more than that.  Even some of the dog’s tail wags are clearly optical effects.

But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t reduce me to a blubbering wreck.  I give credit to sentimentality when it works, and this movie pushed a lot of my buttons in a big way.  I lost my dog (a golden retriever, even!) six months ago and it dredged up a lot of that loss, and a lot of the guilt I felt for not spending as much time with him as I could have.  Maybe this film is a flagrant tearjerker, but tears were indeed jerked, and that’s not nothing.  Go hug a dog.  Rating: Good (73)


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