Being based on a true story often gives a film
license to be a bit more melodramatic, and Little Q leans into this. On
top of an untraditional structure that seems punctuated by dramatic life
events, films involving dogs have endless potential for emotional moments. Following
the life of a guide dog from beginning to end, there are more human characters
and subplots than expected, not to mention all the anticipated canine moments. While
there are some effective moments in the plot, they lack the same impact because
of how often Little Q attempts to create an emotional response in the audience.
The premise is admittedly
made for melodrama, even from the beginning. Adapted from the Japanese novel Goodbye,
Khoru, Little Q starts with the training process for guide dogs, which
begins almost immediately after they are born. The yellow lab with a unique
birthmark is named Little Q and sent to the Chan family to be raised during his
training. Young schoolgirl Chan Zhiqiao (Chutian Liu) builds a bond with the
puppy, doing what she can to sabotage the training so that she won’t have to
say goodbye. The first heartbreaking goodbye comes with the graduation from
training, which means Little Q must leave the Chan household to be placed with
a person in need.
When his training is complete, Little
Q is sent to Lee Bo Ting (Simon Yam), a recently blinded chef struggling to
come to terms with his disability. This is the main portion of the narrative
and takes its time in building the relationship between the two. Lee is not
initially open to the idea of a guide dog, which is understandable for someone
coming to terms with their life drastically changing. What is a lot less
understandable is the way he initially abuses Little Q, tossing him outside in
the rain or refusing to take him outside to use the bathroom.
Little Q is almost
taken away from Lee when the chef’s depression and suicidal tendencies consistently
endanger him and the dog. A bond is built between the two, however, and soon
Lee will not do anything without Little Q. The bond with the dog even allows Lee
to begin working as a chef again, taking back a part of his life thought lost with
the disability. This is the happiest portion of the film, before everyone
starts getting sick and the melodrama takes over again.
Lee is the
first, developing a heart condition that forces him to travel to the United
States for a special operation. Because the recovery is extensive, Little Q is
sent back to be with the Chan family, where his childhood companion has grown into
a young adult (Angela Yuen). Although Q has a happy life, he still missing his
companion and partner. As the health of the guide dog begins to decline, there
is doubt whether Lee will make it back in time to see his loyal friend again.
takes so many detours along the path, and there were times I longed for a more
straightforward dog movie. The path the narrative takes may have been better
suited for novel form. The Blu-ray release of Little Q comes with no
special features or extra copies of the movie.
Special Features: 0/10