A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog.
Marley and Me is about a dog, definitely, but it's just as much about a man (John Grogan, played by Wilson), his wife (Jenny, played by Aniston), and his growing family. The film follows John from his wedding night to the peak of his journalism career a dozen years later, years that are chronicled in his weekly columns for a Florida newspaper. Marley, the lovable but horribly destructive yellow lab, enters his life as a puppy, in an attempt to prepare him and his wife for future children. The dog, as expected, tears apart the house, makes wild escapes, humps the dog trainer, and lovably terrorizes other people. But the film effectively intersperses those episodes with tender, sincere moments of human/dog bonding. Marley is there to comfort Jenny when her husband cannot, adjusts to the children as they grow older, and intrudes on the family's most private moments. He is a constant, and at times, annoying presence, but Marley underscores the emotional tone of the film without dominating it.
Similarly, both Wilson and Aniston deliver understated performances that convey the ups-and-downs of any marriage. While it is the bond between John and Marley that the film explores most deeply, Jenny provides the link between dog, family, and children. In the end, she realizes what Marley has become, and what he has always been, to the two of them. The film's overall tone - light, humorous, but at times very real - builds up to an ending that is surprisingly moving.
Marley and Me is a tender-hearted, easy-going film that will appeal to any dog-lover. But it will also, I think, appeal to anyone who can look back on his or her life and trace a common thread through each passing year. A beloved pet, like Marley, has that unique capability. I wish I could thank my own dog for that. But, as one of the children in the movie tearfully says, I'm sure he already knows.
- Dec 28, 2008