WHAT IS IT?
Life With Dog is a brand new Christian film about a recent widower who is lost in his grief. Consumed by suspicion, doubt, and anger, his life lacks direction and is often filled with despair. Just when it seems he is on the brink of self-destruction, a mysterious dog enters his life in an unexpected way and eventually leads him to some surprising revelations, both about his wife’s death and his faith.
This film is being released on DVD on June 4th at Walmart stores. You can also go to Amazon and purchase the DVD for $11.99, buy the digital version with Prime for $12.99, or rent it with Prime for $4.99.
This film stars Corbin Bernsen, Marilu Henner, and Chelsey Crisp and runs approximately 1 hr. 46 min. The main character, Joe Bigler, owns a home that real estate developers want to buy so they can tear it down and build a combination retail/residential loft complex in its place. Many of the neighbors have sold out, and construction has already begun, but Joe has no intention of selling. As tensions rise between himself and the developers, his wife, Alice, is killed in a hit and run accident while riding her bike in the neighborhood.
Joe is left alone in his home, which he still refuses to sell, and the sudden loss of his wife leaves him bitter and angry. Alice had been a faithful Christian who showed a tremendous amount of patience with Joe in his hasty reactions to situations, but Joe was only going through the motions of faith to satisfy his wife, whom he truly loved. With Alice gone, Joe is more even hasty and irrational than before, and his doubts in God are stronger than ever. He is so lost in his grief that he sits in one room continuously, refusing to eat or pay bills.
Amid his pain, a seemingly homeless dog wanders into his yard and even into his home on multiple occasions. Joe initially tries to shew the dog away, but with its repeated appearances and its insistence on keeping him company, Joe’s heart begins to melt, and he accepts the dog as his faithful companion, naming him simply “Dog.”
Meanwhile, Joe and Alice have a daughter who tries to coax Joe back into the land of the living, encouraging him to speak with their pastor and work through his feelings of grief. Its revealed that Joe had previously lost a son who was not yet 13 at the time, and Joe’s lack of faith came from his pleas to spare his son and his wife as they lay dying before him, but his prayers had gone unanswered both times, leaving Joe more hopeless than ever.
Joe continues to last out at those he feels were responsible for his wife’s death, even though the driver had never been located in the 3 months since the accident. Joe was a former boxer, so he takes out his frustrations with people through aggression in various forms, and he keeps getting himself into more and more trouble. The police try to help solve the case, but suspicion even begins to fall on Joe himself, and that was the last straw for him.
As Joe puts up posters to try to locate the real owner of the dog, the dog ends up leading him to its true home, a home with a vehicle that is damaged on the front fender. Joe begins to put two and two together and realizes that this is not only the dog’s home, but the home of the driver who Alice to die in the street.
Joe eventually confronts the man, but police arrive just in the nick of time and arrest both of them because Joe was holding a gun on the man. While evidence is being collected and both men are handcuffed and waiting to be taken to the station, they have a conversation that reveals how the man came to hit Alice with his truck and why he left the scene. Joe realizes his wife would want him to forgive the man, who was scared and distracted at the time of the accident, and the two men come to an understanding. You can see Joe processing the events and realizing that there is something bigger at work in our lives that brings us peace and allows us to deal with the tragedies of life…the same faith and belief system that he had admired in his wife for all of their years together. The movie closes as the two men are put into squad cars and taken away, leaving you to draw your own conclusions about where their lives were headed after that.
I really enjoyed this movie. The acting wasn’t bad at all, and there were many positive messages that one could take from the story. Alice had been a steady and positive influence on Joe’s life. She went to church regularly, and he had come along to make her happy. In the process, he had started to wonder what all the hype was about and why his wife could deal with difficult situations so much better than he could. In the end, he realized it was because she’d had God in her life to rely on all along, and he had not allowed God into his life. The movie left you feeling like no matter what consequences Joe would suffer for his actions, he was in a better place spiritually than where he’d begun, and it took the tragedy of losing his wife and finding comfort in the dog to begin to soften his heart and help him find his way to the Lord to help him accept the realities of his life and move on from them. As a viewer, I felt his grief and pain and the sense of loss he felt. The film did a great job of helping you put yourself in his shoes and work your way out of that dark place right along with him.
The lesson Joe learned was that we don’t always get the answers we want from our prayers to God, but there is something positive that can come out of every devastating situation, because God can work all things for our good. We can overcome anything with His help, and sometimes it takes really tragic events to wake us up and direct our steps back to Him.
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