This movie is about an average dog's life. This dog has relationships with the several humans he meets. The great cast includes: Josh Gad as Bailey (voice), Dennis Quaid as Ethan, Kathryn Prescott as CJ, Marg Helgenberger as Hannah, Betty Gilpin as Gloria, Henry Lau as Trent, Abby Ryder Fortson as Young CJ, Ian Chen as Young Trent, Emma Volk as Toddler CJ, Johnny Galecki as Henry, Jake Manley as Shane, Daniela Barbosa as Liesl, Conrad Coates as Big Joe, Arlene Duncan as Hilda and Kevin Claydon as Barry.
We see a big colourful wheat field. Then we see a house at the end of the wheat field and a dog called Bailey is jumping around in the porch. An old man, Ethan (played by the experienced and talented Dennis Quaid) is there with his wife Hannah (played by the beautiful and equally experienced Marg Helgenberger). Ethan and Bailey play catch the ball. Ethan calls Bailey "Boss Dog". This is probably because it is his favourite animal and he probably bosses the other animals around too hehe.
There is a baby girl, CJ, the grand daughter of Ethan and Hannah at home with them.
"Bailey the dog has a voice over (voiced by the funny Josh Gad). Great voice work by Josh Gad. You get to know Bailey's personality through this voice"
CJ accidentally goes into the horses quarters. She could have been badly hurt but Bailey protects her. Ethan is angry at his daughter Gloria (the mother of CJ) because she's irresponsible and doesn't pay attention to her child.
"Gloria is played wonderfully by Betty Gilpin. Gloria plays a conflicted mother who has her own aspirations. On top of that she is a widow"Ethan says to Gloria "Between the three of us we can give that girl the love that she needs". Ethan spots a lump on Bailey's belly. The vet says they should keep the dog comfortable.
Hannah chats to Gloria and says if you want to pursue your career you can leave your baby with us. Gloria takes this the wrong way, as in she think they are suggesting she is an incompetent mother. She gets angry at her parents and says "Nobody wants what's best for me". Great acting once again by Betty Gilpin. She gives one of the best young mother performance I've seen in a while. She leaves in the car with CJ and Ethan gives them a packet of money.
Ethan dances to the song with lyrics "I can give you my world... I can love you like that" with his wife Hannah. Great acting by Dennis Quaid. The dog is very sick. The vet is there he has to give him an injection so he rests in peace. Bailey passes on and is reborn as a female puppy again called Molly. Molly accidentally encounters the young CJ and jumps on her.
"CJ takes Molly into her room secretively. Her mother Gloria bangs on her door and says 'I'm going out on a date... can you figure out your dinner tonight?'. CJ says 'Again?'. Here we see that Gloria is a bit wreckless and wants to live her own life. Wonderful acting by Betty Gilpin"CJ has taken the day off and pretends to be her mother by putting a pin on her nose and talking in a grown up voice. It's a funny scene. She needs to chat to the owner of Molly about keeping her. She needs the assistance of Trent who lives opposite to her. Trent also has a puppy.
CJ and Trent want their respective dogs to go to their own puppy school. CJ secretively takes Molly back to her home. She leaves Molly in the basement and Molly makes a mess. CJ wants to tell her mom but she doesn't. Gloria goes out on another date and dresses well. There is a thunderstorm and Molly protects CJ.
Gloria goes into CJs room and see's Molly the dog. "You went behind my back and got a dog!" says Gloria angrily. "Mollys my best friend" says CJ. They decide to keep her. Fast forward a few years and CJ has grown up. The grown up CJ is played excellently by the beautiful Kathryn Prescott. On the street she see's her old friend Trent with Rocky, his dog. The grown up Trent is played well by Henry Lau.
CJ goes to the store to buy a bag of pretzels and drink. Their she meets Shane who works there. They like each other. She goes for a walk with Shane. Trent bumps into them and is upset that she's doesn't want to hang out with her anymore. Shane drives to a lake with CJ and kisses her.
They then drive to a friends house party. Shane deals drugs there. The cops arrive and take her away. Molly is left behind. Trent picks Molly up from the pound. CJ has to do to 100hrs of community service. Co-incidently she now has to train scent dogs to smell cancer. We see CJ cleaning up a lot. Molly is also getting trained there.
Ethan and Hannah stop by to visit Gloria. Molly the dog acts crazy because she is actually Bailey Boss Dog and so he recognises Ethan. Molly also knows Boss Dog's tricks. Gloria doesn't want them here, she's got her own life.
Shane visits CJ and is angry at her and attacks her, Molly defends her.
"Back at home CJ says she was attacked and Gloria says she was dumped by her boyfriend. Gloria pays no attention to her. Furthermore Gloria tells CJ that the trust fund/inheritence from her dad was used up by her. This is the icing on the cake for CJ and she is furious. This mother/daughter relationship gets more and more interesting here"
She leaves with her car with Molly inside. Shane chases her with his car and makes her get into a dangerous car accident. Molly is hurt and she passes on. Bailey/Molly is reincarnated again as "Big Dog" (a large type dog). Big Dog lives at Joe's Quick Stop. CJ stops by! Big Dog recognises her and CJ pats him on the head. But CJ leaves in her car, Big Dog chases the car. Big Dog waits and waits but CJ never comes back. Big Dog passes on.
Then Bailey/Molly/Big Dog is then re-incarnated as a smaller dog called Max. Max escapes the clutches of a Dog Pound Administrat, he can smell the scent of CJ. He chases CJ into a building and Max jumps into the lift with her. CJ ends up adopting her. CJ's old friend Trent also lives in that apartment.
"Max drags CJ to Trent's apartment (maybe he wants to see them together). Trent tells CJ that he and his wife moved from London to NewYork. CJ tells Trent that she walks dogs for money and has a fledgling singing career. The relationship between CJ and Trent through out this film is interesting. There is good chemistry between these two"
CJ leaves that building and is sad she won't see Trent again. CJ has a new boyfriend (Barry) and Max makes life difficult for him because he doesn't like him hehe. CJ does decide to move out of her boyfriend's Barry's house. CJ goes from place to place. Then CJ walks by Trent's apartment building. Trent chats to her and tells her to stay in his guest bedroom. Trent is there with his wife which is kind of awkward.
"The three of them all go for a walk. 'So you do Music on the side, and dog walking is your real job' says Trent's wife. Kathryn Prescott as CJ has a great on screen presence. You can see through her facial expressions that she has had a tough life. She also displays resilience. Great acting"Trent is really sick and exhausted one day. CJ wants him to see a doctor. Trent sits CJ and wife and tells them he has cancer.
"CJ and Trent have a deep and meaningfull chat. Trent is now bald and sleeping more. At this point the friendship between Trent and CJ is strengthened. Although these scenes are quite depressing there is plenty of heart shown here"The doctor calls Trent and says his scans were clean! CJ hugs Trent. During the time that Trent had cancer, his wife left him which is very full on. Trent says to CJ "You just got me through cancer and now I'll be there for you" says Trent.
CJ meets with her mom Gloria. This time she doesn't want money from her daughter. Gloria finally admits "She wasn't a good mother" to CJ. Gloria gives CJ letters that her dad wrote to her when she was pregnant with CJ. CJ reads the letters. CJ performs at a live music place and Trent watches.
She performs "falling fearless" and the audience claps. Trent and CJ go on a road trip to her grandad's Ethan's farm. Max goes nuts and runs up to Ethan. CJ introduces herself as CJ their grand daughter. Ethan says to everybody that he believes that Bailey comes back as a different dog each time he passes on.
Ethan shows a trick with Molly/Big Dog/Bailey/Max with a flat ball just like when Bailey was young.
"Max jumps on Ethan's back and catches the ball. So Ethan proves that Max is Bailey! This theme of re-incarnation of a Dog's spirit runs through the movie. It makes you think that such a thing could be possible!"
CJ chats to Trent. She says Max was Molly and Big Dog and Bailey and that Max wanted them two to be together!
"'I love you Trent...' says CJ. Trent says 'I have always loved you for ever'. The love story between Trent and CJ was done well. It was believable"
CJ is now pregnant in the city. They return to the farm with the baby. Gloria visits her too. Ethan, the grandad, quietly passes on. Max is there for him. Max then himself passes on. We see him going up a hill as Max, Big Dog, Molly then Bailey.
"A reflective Bailey says 'I knew that loving people was my purpose'. Then Bailey meets Ethan in grassy fields in the after life and plays with him. What a beautiful way to end a movie"We see that all four dogs here had a positive impact on the lives of their owners. I guess dogs have always been good company and bring a cheerful nature to households.
"I believe Dennis Quaid put in a quiet but powerful performance as Ethan the grandad. His role as the grandad character set the friendly and positive tone for this movie from the very beginning. Kathryn Prescott as CJ has a wonderful screen presence and carried the film well. Betty Gilpin was impressive playing an irresponsible mother. Josh Gad did the voice over to the four dogs and he gave these dogs personality and depth"There are somewhat depressing elements in this film but I found the film uplifting at the same time. For a dog movie this movie is packed full of human stories and relationships. I enjoyed that a lot. What an intriguing and heart felt 1hr 49min.