When we found out this movie was coming out, Dean and I decided we'd go see it as a family on Christmas day. As it turned out, Angela went to her dad's for the day. I'd just like to say, "BLESSINGS sometimes come in disguises!"
If you've never read the book, read it! The movie follows the book very closely. I read the book when it first came out about 4 or 5 years ago, and the last 2 or 3 chapters must be read with a box of tissues. Dean then took the book with him to read on a flight to Arizona. When he got to about chapter 5 he put the book away...for good. "Why would I want to torture myself?" he asked?
The day before we saw the movie, we started hearing the rave reviews, AND the comments that this was advertised as a family movie AND IT'S NOT! It is VERY emotionally heavy, and you will spend the last 15-20 minutes in tears. If you've recently had to put a dog to sleep, I would NOT recommend seeing the movie, or you'll find yourself reliving it. Instead, wait till it comes out on DVD in a few months, and you might be ready. I did see several families with young kids (7-12 years old) in the theater, and after the movie I saw those same kids leaving the theater sobbing. I think it's too heavy for most kids that age.
With all that, I HIGHLY recommend the movie. For those who are thinking about getting their first dog, and wondering if they're ready, this movie will give you a good idea as to how much work a dog really needs, and what happens when you wait till your dogs is an adult to do any training. LOL It will show you all the really bad things that puppies and untrained adult dogs can do to your home. But, it will also show you the love that dogs feel for their people, no matter how naughty they are. It will show you the support people get from their dogs when they don't even realize it. It will show you the bond between a dog and his boy (or girl, as the case may be.)
And in the end, it will show you the heartache that comes with pet ownership. Watching made me want to go home and give all my dogs away so I never have to deal with "that" part of dog ownership again. It also made me want to go home and hug my dogs, and love on them even more than we already do.
So, go see the movie, but instead of bringing your kids, bring a box of tissues!