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Year of the Dog (2007)
why are people so reluctant to accept human imperfection?
I thought this movie had some interesting messages, although they were often quite subtle. I am rather amazed at how people don't get these messages. Frequently commentators here despise the leading characters for being social misfits, without a word against those other characters who really are depraved! Peggy has an incredible well of love inside her which simply lacks guidance until the end. Newt is a man who has dedicated his life to love (I mean true love, not carnal love), and someone calls him 'dysfunctional'?! It seems there is no respect for selflessness. Look at the carnality of Peggy's friend Layla and her even more depraved fiancé Don, the Scrooge-like avarice of her boss Robin, her boorish neighbor Al, her weak brother Pier and his proud and haughty wife Bret. The scene where Don, Layla and Peggy are eating out contains one of those messages. The disgusting way Don tears the flesh off the ribs reflects the way he devours the flesh of women in his lust. Yes, Peggy is full of suppressed zeal which appears to turn into psychosis. But this only shows her lack of purpose in life. That's kind of the point of the end. We all do wrong things, but they do not necessarily reflect a depraved character. That's the other point of the movie; the way her various friends begin to accept love in their lives (through adopting pets at Peggy's insistence) shows how they are also being redeemed. I don't believe killing animals for their meat is murder, even if White thinks so. It may not have been intentional, but the part where the disturbed dog Valentine kills Newt's pet Bunty shows that death is a part of this fallen world as much for animals as for humans. Note that, despite Newt's refusal to kill animals himself, he sends Valentine away to be put down; unlike Peggy, he sees his vegan, celibate lifestyle as a matter of duty and self-sacrifice, rather than the rather self-righteous moralistic belief that 'killing animals is murder', which Peggy seems to believe in. In that respect Peggy indeed seems to be at fault; she wants to express love but cannot, at least until the end perhaps, face the responsibility which Newt has accepted. As I said, I don't believe eating meat is murder (provided animals are treated kindly first), just as I don't believe sex is wrong, provided it is done with love and loyalty. It is, however, a result of a fallen world, and giving up meat, like giving up sex, is a way of redeeming the world, provided it is accompanied by love. If I had one major criticism to make of the film, it is perhaps the relentless focus on animals as the only ones capable of expressing love. True, the unreflective devotion of pets can be an image of perfect love on the outside, but since it does not come from free choice, it doesn't have the redeeming quality of human love. But I might be too harsh here, since one could argue that Peggy and Newt already fulfill that role. Despite Newt's belief that animal love is better than human, his own example proves otherwise (unlike Valentine, he can make the choice not to kill, and does so).