Films about dogs hold a special place in my heart. There’s just something so uniquely genuine about pet films that when done right find a way to wriggle into your soul. So when Rescued by Ruby came across my desk I was not physically capable of saying no. I think the Netflix algorithm knows me too well.
Rescued by Ruby (directed by Katt Shea), is based on true events and stars Grant Gustin as state trooper Daniel O’Neil, whose one dream is to join the elite K-9 unit run by Matt Zarella (Scott Wolf). Time is running out, and this is the final year that O’Neil can apply for the program, and with the department’s lack of funding, there are no dogs available. Meanwhile on the other side of town, a mischievous scamp of a dog, Ruby, is also on her last chance at the animal shelter after being returned by numerous families and facing the threat of being put down. When fate brings them together they have to learn to work together to qualify for Zarella’s K-9 academy program.
This film does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s fairly formulaic, cheesy, predictable, and you know what? I ate it up. I admit to being a sap, and I firmly blame that on my old dog and my kids. For a movie to tug on your heartstrings successfully, it has to understand the trope and it has to deliver that effectively. Rescued by Ruby hits the mark. It’s lovably optimistic and wholesome and watching this film uplifted my spirits.
The dynamic between O’Neil and Ruby sells the entire vibe. Gustin has this charming vibe about him that I was surprised he pulled off. His character is somewhat wired and energetic but he has a thirst to prove himself no matter the odds. Gustin checks that box and creates this very endearing performance of a character that’s always been written off and who’s had to work twice as hard to get ahead in the face of several learning disabilities that go against him. That parallel is seen through the character of Ruby, and while no family has given her a chance, O’Neil finds something of himself in her.
Being extremely honest here, the film was pleasant enough, but there’s a scene during the third act that reduced me to tears, and it was so bloody unexpected but I reacted before my brain had even processed what was going on.
I wouldn’t go into this film expecting to be blown away necessarily, but it’s just positively nourishing. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea by any means, but for some of you out there, you’re going to love the cathartic injection of delight. One small footnote, I tend to critique accents, because nothing infuriates me more than a bad accent. However, the accents didn’t seem to be dreadful. Now I’m an Englishman living in the U.S., so hopefully, the crew did justice to Rhode Island but it came across well on screen.
Rescued by Ruby is a great dog film that the whole family can sit down and enjoy together. Grant Gustin is beyond charming, and you can’t help but want to root for him and Ruby to succeed. If you’re looking for something light and entertaining that will likely bring you a ton of smiles, I would recommend this film. Movies about dogs are just what the doctor ordered, but don’t be surprised if you’re left with the sudden urge to go adopt.
Rescued by Ruby is available now, exclusively on Netflix.
Rescued by Ruby
- Rating - 7.5/107.5/10
Rescued by Ruby is a great dog film that the whole family can sit down and enjoy together. Grant Gustin is beyond charming, and you can’t help but want to root for him and Ruby to succeed. If you’re looking for something light and entertaining that will likely bring you a ton of smiles, I would absolutely recommend this film. Movies about dogs are just what the doctor ordered, but don’t be surprised if you’re left with the sudden urge to go adopt.
Aaron is a contributing writer at But Why Tho, serving as a reviewer for TV and Film. He is also the co-host and social media manager of the Nerds Social Club podcast.
Hailing originally from England, and after some lengthy questing, he’s currently set up shop in Pennsylvania. He spends his days reading comics, podcasting, and being attacked by his small offspring.