There’s something magical about owning a dog. Their presence inevitably places worth on the smallest endeavors and the simplest moments. No matter the age, dogs can bring out the best in people, even during the worst of times, and David Frankel’s Marley and Me captures this particular dynamic beautifully. Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston play a young couple recently married who move to the sunny confines of Miami to pursue careers as journalists, and in an attempt to stave off the responsibility of having a child, man buys woman a puppy. Of course such a simple decision turns into a large, decade-long responsibility paralleling the couple’s highs (family, job success) and lows (miss-communication, guilt). For a Hollywood film with big stars and large box office expectations, Marley and Me surprisingly never manipulates the natural sentiment on display, using an excellent script by Scott Frank and Don Roos to ground the characters in real life, three-dimensional situations with pitch-perfect dialogue and pertinent thematic motifs. Marley and Me contains all the doggy sight gags promised in the trailer, but offers so much more in terms of honest vulnerability and compassion.