Some of us are suckers for dog movies and the makers of 2023 Netflix movie ‘Dog Gone’ attempt to tug the heart-strings of ‘dog-people’. Directed by Stephen Herek, the film is based on a book of the same name by Paul Toutonghi and starts off with college student Fielding Marshall (Johnny Berchtold) adopting a dog from a shelter after breaking-up with his girlfriend. He calls the pup Gonker and the two become inseparable until Fielding loses sight of his pet during a hike in the Appalachian trail, one of the longest hiking trails in the world. How his parents help Fielding find Gonker forms the rest of the story. Their biggest challenge – Gonker has Addison’s disease and needs to be found within a certain number of days or he could die without his medication.
Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams-Paisley plays the Marshalls, who aren’t very enthused about the fact that Fielding doesn’t land a job after finishing college. Regardless, Mr Fielding (Rob Lowe) insists on accompanying Fielding across the Appalachian trail to look for Gonker, the search gives father and son the opportunity to heal their strained relationship. So, while the plot is based around the sweet dog, the primary focus is really on the family.
With a 90-minute runtime, ‘Dog Gone’ unnecessarily adds multiple sub-plots for Fielding’s character, so there’s one about his love for Gonker, another about his uneasy rapport with his dad and a third angle that could’ve been completely omitted. Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Mrs Marshall was the sweetest character, she is slightly technologically challenged, but gives her all in finding their beloved dog. Both the book and the movie are loosely based on real people and events that took place in the 1990s, however the Netflix version does a decent job of updating the plot to suit 2022. For example – Mrs Marshall sets up new social media handles to help spread the word about the search.
I wish there were more scenes featuring the dog that plays Gonker, but otherwise ‘Dog Gone’ makes for a good title to stream with the entire family. The end credits had some cute real-life pictures of the cast and crew with their pets and it’s good to know that most of them are also ‘dog people’.
It’s a 6.5/10 from me.
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