Customer Reviews: Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog
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Ah, the Japanese dog movie. It is a strange genre, although a prolific one. Any Japanese DVD shop will have a section devoted to it, and there are sometimes even cat movies as well. Probably the most familiar to US audiences is The Adventures of Milo & Otis, which was, shortened, re-edited and narration added for American audiences.

Unlike most US dog movies, like Benji or Lassie, the Japanese dog movie usually presents their animals as non-anthropomorphic, not performing super-feats or amazing tricks, but just showing loyalty and love and companionship, all the things a dog should do. They rarely save the day or foil criminals. They always bring a tear to the eye with their simple affection.

"Quill" is a quintessential Japanese dog movie. A floppy little puppy, cute as they come and entirely poster-ready, is trained to be a seeing-eye dog. A cantankerous blind person, assured that he doesn't need to be dragged around by a dog, is set to be proven wrong. Bring out the hankies and open the floodgates!

The story was adapted from a popular novel, "The Life of Quill, the Seeing-Eye Dog". The film is almost a documentary, showing Quill from his initial training up to his eventual bonding with his human companion to whom he will be both eyes and best friend. The training is handled in a realistic fashion, without forced drama or silly situations. While designed to be simple, and to educate children about the life of a seeing-eye dog, under the directorial hand of Yoichi Sai (A shock in and of itself, considering his next film was the brutal Blood and Bones. Apparently he had enough of sweetness and needed to get dirty), "Quill" becomes an enjoyable and moving film.

It is absolutely the kind of film that you could watch with little children, and still get something out of it yourself. Be warned that the film is realistic, and that death is a major theme. Nothing horrible happens, there is no heart-wrenching accident: this isn't Old Yeller, but death is a part of all living creatures, and is something that "Quill" addresses.
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on March 18, 2015
English subtitles. I'm a volunteer puppy raiser for service dog labs. This was as interesting story. A friend recommended it with tears in her eyes, so I was expecting a lot. Maybe it's because I work with these dogs every day that I looked at it differently. It was too heart breaking to think they left the dog for such a long time...a waste of talent. Culturally interesting, but is this the norm?
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on January 19, 2014
You need to write that its not in English... Hard to watch at times because they treat their animals different then we do... the first couple that had Quill for his first year were fantastic you could tell they loved him. Its too bad that most of his life was in a cage I know that the first couple would have taken him... Sad story
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on May 6, 2016
Held off writing this review. This film is one of those sad stories that breaks your heart. Very touch and perfectly executed. Didn't want to review this film for fear of it getting me right in the tear ducts again.
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on January 9, 2013
This is a darling movie about the life of one dog-guide born, trained and working in Japan. It is in Japanese with English sub-titles. I would have liked to have had this movie in English. That would have been perfect.

The music and plot are exceptionally well done.
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on July 28, 2013
This is a wonderful movie and even though it's got English subtitles you don't notice that much because it's so enjoyable. It's a Japanese movie. It is about a pup who goes into guide dog training but it's really more about the love between the dog and the people he meets and their love of him than about him being a guide dog. There are some sad parts but the movie is very gentle. I would have given it five stars but for it being confusing toward the end, where even though Quill's blind master dies he is kept at the Guide Dog Training Academy for many years where all he does is help with occasional guide dog demonstrations, and then returned to the loving couple who raised him when he grows old. I don't understand why if they weren't going to use him for a guide dog anymore they didn't just let him return to them sooner. That needed to be explained. It is, however, a very realistic and touching film, full of love, and one of the most special dog stories I've ever seen brought to the screen.
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on February 26, 2014
I enjoyed this movie, even with subtitles. I almost decided not to watch it since I don't care for subtitles. However, there was enough time between subtitle changes making it easy to read, while still watching and enjoying the movie. The movie was interesting and you learned quite a bit about the raising and use of seeing eye dogs. It did have it's sad moments too, but over all it was a nice movie with a few laughs. I'd recommend this movie for anyone interested in dogs for the blind and also dog lovers will enjoy it too.
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on February 21, 2016
Despite what some of these people are saying, I believe this is a wonderful movie. I don't see how the dogs are mistreated in any way? It's not hard to watch, there is not animal abuse going on here, even in fiction. Someone mentioned him being in a cage his whole life, even though the movie shows countless times that he wasn't. If they mean his KENNEL, they must not know much about dog training and dog training facilities. It's an emotional movie, and you learn a bit about how guide dogs are trained and what makes a good guide dog. It's well-acted, and I find the fact that Quill is just simply a dog refreshing. What I mean by that is, in most American dog movies, the dog talks. There is some over-the-top voice actor as the dog, with crappy CGI lip movement and one-liners. Just awful. But here, Quill is simply Quill. He is a dog, and the movie portrays dog emotion very well. You feel for this animal as if he were your own, and you can tell he is upset when his handler passes away. Very good movie.
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on November 8, 2013
Being a second generation American/Japanese I like to watch Japanese movies to keep up with my language skills. This was pretty funny, it reminded me of my Dad and his interaction with our dog. There were some sad "moments" in the movie, but overall it was pretty funny. It has English sub-titles. It's kind of like the movie "Marley and Me".
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on May 30, 2013
As a dog lover I wanted to watch this movie and it did not disappoint. It was fascinating watching the training of both a guide dog and guide dog owner. The sentiment was amazing and the acting to me was perfect, it didn't need any more glamorizing. But beware, make sure you have some tissues to hand as it had me in tears by the end. A moving and sweet movie.
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