Golden labs are known for their gentleness and intelligence. "Air Bud" featured one as a basketball hound, but "Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog" zooms in on a golden lab whose personality made him the perfect companion for the blind.
Yes, it's a PSA pretending to be a feature film, but the dog and the true story make it a winner. "Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog" has a 83 percent "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics.
"What sets this film above so many movies about animals is that it's about a dog who is realistic in every aspect," wrote Roger Ebert in his Chicago Sun-Times review. "Undeniably powerful," wrote Andy Webster, of The New York Times.
Here's the press release:
Chicago, IL (May 24, 2012) - Quill may initially appear to be an average, ordinary Golden Labrador Retriever, but he’s much, much more. Identified for his intelligence, compassion and devotion when he’s just a puppy—an absolutely adorable puppy!—Quill is selected to enter a program that trains seeing-eye guide dogs for the blind. The story of the curious canine’s rigorous training, his eventual assignment to an unhappy, newly blind master and the captivatingly honest realities of the life of a seeing-eye dog are the subjects of the wonderful drama "Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog," coming to DVD from Music Box Films Home Entertainment on July 10.
Directed by legendary Japanese filmmaker Yoichi Sai and based on a true story, "Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog" traces the long life and remarkable experiences of the wonderful seeing-eye dog Quill, so-named because of the feather-shaped birthmark on his side. The film carefully follows Quill from his litter to his selection as a guide dog shortly after his first birthday through his training by Satoru Tawada (Kippei Shiina). It then follows Quill’s assignment to the lonely and ill-tempered Mitsuru Watanabe (Kaoru Kobayashi) and how the dog’s great patience, gentleness and skill eventually win over Watanabe, bringing them together to become inseparable friends.
"Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog" will be released on DVD and Digital Download for the first time in the U.S. by Music Box Films Home Entertainment on July 10, 2012, following its well-received Stateside theatrical release in the nation’s top markets in May, 2012.
An unforgettable and irresistible story about the difference one lovable lab can make in the lives of many,"Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog" is a film that once again proclaims the existence of a natural, emotional and very powerful bond that exists between humans and dogs.
Quill, a Golden Labrador Retriever puppy so named because of the feather-shaped birthmark on his side, is sent to live with a couple, Isamu (Teruyuki Kagawa) and Mitsuko (Shinobu Terajima), who work as volunteers for the training of seeing eye guide dogs. Quill is subsequently taken to a professional guide dog school led by the friendly yet firm trainer Satoru Tawada (Kippei Shiina). Although Quill is a little slower than the other dogs at the school, he does exhibit a peerless level of devotion and patience for his trainers. Tawada decides that Quill would be the ideal guide dog for Mitsuru Watanabe (Kaoru Kobayashi), a lonely and ill-tempered elderly man who “would rather sleep than be dragged around by a dog.” Letting his natural instincts guide him, Quill gradually helps his new master to open up and appreciate life. With time, Wanatabe learns not only to trust and enjoy the presence of other humans, but the dedicated animal at his side who guides him, as well.