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Film / Fluke

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A little story about a stray puppy who lost his way and is now trying to find his family.

His human family.

Fluke is a 1995 film about a dog named Fluke, who for most of his life remembers brief flashes of his other life, leading him to believe that in his past life he was actually a human named Tom with a family and a job. Upon finding his widowed wife and son, his memory intensifies as well as his suspicions, especially against his former business partner Jeff whom he believes caused his human death.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Deviation: American-set version of James Herbert novel (which took place in London and southern Britain). Also, he was Nigel Clairemount Nettle, father of Gillian in the book, Thomas P Johnson, father of Brian in the film.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When Fluke tries explaining to Rumbo that he was a human in a past life, Rumbo sarcastically responds, "Yeah, and I was Snow White."
  • Animal Talk: Animals seemingly can understand each other, as well as human speech. Humans cannot understand animals, of course.
  • Berserk Button:
    • A minor one for Fluke, but he doesn't like it when a man deliberately steps on Rumbo's tail. So much so that he ends up biting the man on the leg in return.
    • A bigger one for him is Jeff, whom Fluke believes caused him to die in the first place, and he attacks Jeff twice as a dog. But he lets the grudge go once he realizes that he, not Jeff, was responsible.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Rumbo, who rescues Fluke and other animals from animal experiments at a cosmetics company. It doesn't end well for him.
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Done with the same person. When Tom dies in the opening, he is soon reincarnated as a newly born puppy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After helping Carol find Brian, he shows Carol who he really is and leaves them so can they be happy. On the bright side however, he meets up with Rumbo who is reincarnated as a squirrel.
  • But Now I Must Go: Fluke leaves the family so they can be happy after helping Carol find Brian.
  • Composite Character: The film's version of Bella reflects elements of several characters from the book: a jolly middle-aged woman who feeds Fluke; a scrapyard worker who nurtures the dog's knack for finding hidden food, and an elderly homeless man to whom Fluke is eventually revealed to be telling his story.
  • Death by Adaptation: Ill-fated homeless Bella had a home and a grown-up son in the original book.
  • Homeless Person: Bella (not that Bella) who decides to raise Fluke after he escapes from a pound.
  • It's All My Fault: Said nearly word for word when Fluke fully remembers what really happened on the night of his accident.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Fluke leaves Carol and Brian after he realizes he's only been getting in the way of their happiness. He does ensure he'll always be with them as he uncovers his grave.
  • Jerkass: Jeff, at first. Turns out Tom was the real Jerkass who ignored his family, worked days and nights, and refused to develop Jeff's brake system.
  • Lighter and Softer: One of the few James Herbert's works that isn't a bleak horror story.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: What Fluke believes Jeff did to his past human self.
  • Married to the Job: Tom. He only gets to know his family better as a dog.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After causing Jeff's car crash, Fluke fully regains his memories of the night of Tom’s crash, revealing Jeff wasn’t responsible for his death as he’d assumed-Tom was. Tom, recklessly driving on the wrong side of the road to continue a petty argument with Jeff (who was in fact trying to stop him), swerved to avoid an oncoming truck, causing the crash that killed him.
  • One-Woman Wail: The music makes some use of it, but most powerful during Fluke's real flashback of Tom's death.
  • Past-Life Memories: Fluke gradually regains memory of his human life, which leads him to go on a search for the wife and son he left behind.
  • Recurring Character: For more adventures of Rumbo the squirrel, read James Herbert's novel The Magic Cottage.
  • Reincarnation: A big theme in the film, as the main character upon his death reincarnates as a Golden Retriever.
    • Rumbo was once a sailor and Bert's brother (the man who feeds him and Fluke).
      • At the end of the movie, he is revealed to have been reincarnated again as a squirrel.
  • Revenge by Proxy: To get revenge on Jeff, Fluke hides in the backseat of his car and attacks him, causing him to crash which also flings Fluke through the window.
  • Rule #1: Rumbo states various rules, all numbered one, throughout the film.
  • Save the Day, Turn Away: Textbook example. Fluke saves his son and reveals his true identity to his ex-wife. She screams his name as he flees into the night.