Marley and Me (Frankel, 2008)

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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.

2 thoughts on “Marley and Me (Frankel, 2008)

  1. Saw this last night. It does have its heart in the right places, but far too many pitch perfect missteps along the way make it an enjoyable, but flawed movie experience. All the big moments, the highs and lows, a family undergoes as it develops are there, and maybe that’s where the problem lay. They are all perfectly set up to help move the plot along. Need to move out of the neighborhood, well, the neighbor suddenly getting stabbed in front of her house should do the trick. A lost pregnacy brings about a much needed comic relief scene involving an unexpecting dog sitter and remember that trip we won and never took, well let’s go to Ireland.
    What I found worked the best was what I feared I would hate the most, the sentiment found in the ending. I found that despite all the unnecessary montages and set-up “real life” moments, I actually cared for this stupid dog. And I’m not really a dog person. (except for Rose-dog) woof!

    Also watched Toback’s Tyson last night. Really liked it. We’ll talk later.

  2. Interesting thoughts Bryan. I too cared for the dog a great deal, and maybe that overwhelmed my critical senses a bit, being a dog person! As you know! I thought the film evolved quite naturally, but I definitely see what you’re saying.

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