“Marley & Me” is about a dog’s life, to be sure, but this gentle and humorous story about relationships spanning roughly two decades is really about love – and the trials, tribulations, triumphs and rewards thereof. David Frankel is deft and efficient in crafting the story, but allows just enough lingering over essential elements to give the viewer reasons to care.
At times absolutely hilarious, the screenplay adapted from John Grogan’s memoir will evoke the sympathy of anyone who has owned, and loved, a troublesome dog. Audiences will find something recognizable every minute in the two hours it takes to convey the tale of a Labrador whose unforgettable life has now been immortalized for all.
Owen Wilson, a fine comedic actor, has never been more restrained and believable than as the male human lead. The result is his finest performance. The pleasant surprise is his handling of the most dramatic and affective moments of the story.
Not to give too much away, but “Marley and Me” covers the title character’s entire life, so you know what that means. Wilson’s performance builds steadily to Grogan’s emotional and poignant expressions of love for Marley.
Jennifer Anniston, as Jenny, Grogan’s wife and fellow journalist, brings grace, beauty and believability as a career woman who, slowly but without apology, chooses hearth and home over a high-powered career.
Perfectly cast in supporting roles are Alan Arkin as a less-jaded- than-meets-the-eye editor, Eric Dane as Grogan’s playboy friend, and Kathleen Turner as a trainer who finally meets her match in Marley.
The film is rated PG, appropriate to its content.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll stand and cheer. It really is that good. “Marley and Me” is a delight, and highly recommended.
About the author:
Patrick B. McGuigan (M.A. in history, Oklahoma State University) is a research fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a conservative think tank. He is the author of two books and the editor of seven. McGuigan is a Contributing Editor for Tulsa Today and managing editor of The City Sentinel, an Oklahoma City weekly.