Tom Hanks stars alongside a rescue dog and a robot in his latest movie, Finch, which just might be the most life affirming, heart warming story you’ll see all year.
With only three named actors, only two of which are vocalised, Finch finds itself a little reminiscent of Cast Away – but an incarnation that dog owners will very much be on board with.
The story sees Finch, played by Hanks, as the ‘last man on earth’ following a solar flare that has left the atmosphere so hot and full of radiation, it would turn his – and his canine companion’s – skin into ‘Swiss cheese’. He’s well aware that he is slowly dying from the radiation poisoning, so, as a mechanical engineer, built a robot whose purpose would be to take care of his canine companion, Goodyear, the scruffy little terrier he would leave behind.
The robot, voiced by Caleb Landry Jones would learn to take care of Goodyear after Finch has gone, but he would need to mature and learn quickly, as the unlikely trio race against time, radiation and other various threats in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world.
In a sneak peek clip of the film, Hanks said: “Finch is the last man on earth, but he has the greatest companion in the world. He has a dog, Goodyear. The bond between Finch and Goodyear is one that is based on deep affection and constant understanding. Who doesn’t love a good dog? Even Jeff loves a good dog.”
The film has been heavily critiqued, with The Guardian giving it two stars for lacking ‘any sense of danger’, and the same goes for the Independent, who described it as ‘sop‘. However, this is not a hard hitting action film, and I don’t think Finch needed to be – we’ve seen enough pandemic dramas on screen and in reality to last us quite literally a lifetime now. It’s simply an uplifting story of hope, optimism, companionship and the meaning of life.
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Finch movingly explores what it is to be human, and the importance of companionship in dark times – which is something many dog owners will relate to following the pandemic, and the rise in pet ownership during this time, too. As for the Guardian’s complaint of the film lacking danger, the threats that this trio face are implied, and frankly, I think it’s enough. It was certainly enough for me to leave the room during my second watch, so as not to witness one of the most heart wrenching parts of the film as I implored my parents it was a must-view movie.
Despite his condition, Finch maintains his sense of humour throughout, as does Goodyear, even tinkling up Jeff’s robotic leg. Jeff also provides a lot of laughter with his goofy personality as he learns what a joy it is to be ‘alive’, which somewhat reminds me of the likes of Short Circuit and Wall-e.
The power of the bond between man and man’s best friend is just so beautiful to watch in this film, but you can’t help but feel worried Goodyear will ever learn to trust Jeff to take care of him in Finch’s absence, or if Jeff will develop enough common sense and sentience to properly care for the little dog who Finch saved at the start of the riots.
This found family will have you sobbing into your cup of tea while you hug your own dog a little bit tighter. And no, you’ll all be pleased to know, the dog doesn’t die. In fact, Seamus, who plays the pooch, might have even upstaged Hanks as the star.
The terrier was rescued in California in 2018 after being found on a hillside on Highway 36, and was taken in by Redwood Rescue Pals. At first, he failed temperament tests, but an LA trainer took interest in him, and off he went to Hollywood.
The Californian rescue added: “They went on together to make the film now known as “Finch.” We were sworn to secrecy until the film’s release date was finalized, not knowing that a pandemic was going to postpone that for over a year. But now we can tell the world – our boy is a star!”
Finch is an emotive and sentimental movie that has been released at the perfect time. There’s real creativity in it’s simplicity, and while it might not be action packed and punchy, it will certainly make you feel. And as Tom Hanks beautifully put it: “It is not human to be alone because in company we find companionship.”
Finch is currently only available to view on Apple TV – but I highly recommend taking out a free trial just to watch this movie.