“Marley and Me” (2008)

My husband knows me fairly well after fourteen years, and I surprised him this week by bringing home the DVD Marley and Me from the library.

“You?” he asked. “Dogs? That movie?”

I can understand his confusion. I am not a heartwarming-pet-movie kinda gal. In fact, after watching the movie, I have clarified my relationship with all creatures: I value those I can sit down and have an interesting conversation with. Hence my struggles with small children. And that’s the part of the movie–family and small children–I appreciated. One reviewer commented when this came out what a good job it did with the struggles about family, which is why I borrowed it from the library.

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are young married reporters when they acquire a puppy on the cheap. When one kid arrives, then another, along with the supposedly impossible-to-discipline dog, their lives are tossed about. There’s crying, screaming, anger and frustration. Aniston, near tears from exhaustion and what it’s done to her formerly sharp mind, notes that no one ever told them having a baby would be so hard. Wilson responds that even if they had, they wouldn’t have believed them. It’s a conversation that could have dived into cliche, yet it’s done simply, and illustrated well, and was one example of why this movie was better than the sap-fest I expected of it.

I’m still not, or never will be, a dog person. But Marley and Me is a decent movie about family, career and life choices, even for non-dog people.

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