If you've ever loved a pet, or just love animals, this is a must see movie. Hachi - A Dog's Tale, tells the true and famous story of Hachiko a Japanese Akita dog and his legendary loyalty.
We had seen trailers for this Richard Gere movie (with support from Joan Allen and Jason Alexander) and were charmed even by the short clips shown. So despite my fear it would be a big old weepy we went ahead and watched it. Well I wasn't wrong, Kleenex are essential to get through this movie, but it's sad and uplifting, not just sad and upsetting!
Hachi was taken in as a puppy by the Professor (Gere) and they immediately formed a strong and unbreakable bond. Although Hachi being a noble Akita would not 'fetch', he followed the Professor everywhere and their bond was known to the whole community. Hachi would walk with him to the station, return home and then return to the station in time to meet his train every evening. He would sit opposite the doors on a raised area waiting for his master to come home.
But after just over a year together, when the Professor fails to come home one night, Hachi waits for hours in vain. Time moves on and despite a new home and much love Hachi can't settle and still waits for the train everyday. He sleeps under a train and just waits, surviving on the affection and caring of the many commuters and locals who know of him and feel his pain. He even becomes famous after a newspaper article and people send money to look after him.
Hachi waits at the station daily for nine years, an unbelievable testament to loyalty, love and patience.
Hachiko is the most famous dog in Japan. He lived from 1923-1935 and his story is treasured by the Japanese and told to their children as a lesson in loyalty. He is remembered with a bronze statue out side the station and a celebration on April 8 annually. You can read his true story here. Although the movie moves the story from Japan to the USA and puts it in present day, none of this detracts from the story.
I can guarantee this movie will make you weep. But it's charm, wonderful acting and uplifting true story, make it so worthwhile a few tears.