In a Buddhist temple, a monk packages up a little Akita puppy and sends it via airmail to America. By pure chance, the puppy wriggles free at a small-town station, just as Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) is coming home.
The music professor has promised his wife Cate (Joan Allen) that he won’t get another dog, and she is not happy when he sneaks Hachi into their beautiful, picket-fenced home. The bond between Parker and Hachi deepens, despite the family’s attempts to find the animal’s real owners.
The pup grows up and it’s not long before he’s digging his way under the garden fence to follow Parker to the station.
This quickly turns into a routine: Hachi walks Parker to the station each morning and returns to greet his master at the same time every evening. He becomes a familiar sight among the local shopkeepers and the station master (Jason Alexander), pulling together the small community with his unswerving loyalty.
Gere and Allen deliver convincing performances as the devoted couple, but the true stars of the film are the dogs which play Hachi and the trainers who entice them to perform the variety of tricks.
Star Rating: 3/5