Marley & Me

In 2008 a comedy-drama movie, Marley & Me was released based on the the memoir Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog  by  John Grogan. Grogan, a journalist & newspaper column writer wrote the book about the thirteen years he and his family spent with their yellow Labrador Retriever, Marley. The film is directed by David Frankel and stars Jennifer Anniston, Owen Wilson with Eric Dane, Alan Arkin and a cameo by Kathleen Turner.

Grogan and new bride Jenny escape the bitter winters of their native Michigan and relocate to a cottage in South Florida, where they are hired as reporters for competing newspapers. John is a little bit upset that while Jenny immediately gets to prominent front-page assignments, he himself is writing obituaries and two paragraph articles. When Jenny hints about motherhood, John’s close friend, and co-worker, Sebastian Tunney suggest that they adopt a dog first to see if they are ready to start a family. John surprises Jenny and she selects a male from a litter of newborn yellow Labradors puppies. He is named Marley by John, as the first song he plays in the car is that of reggae legend Bob Marley. From the get go it is apparent that Marley has a problem with discipline as he tends to cause havoc. An attempt at training him sees him tossed out of behaviour camp by the trainer.

John’s editor Arnie Klein offers John a twice-weekly column in which he can discuss the fun and foibles of everyday living. Initially stumped for material, John starts writing about the misadventures of Marley and soon the John settles into his new position. Marley continues to wreak havoc on the household, providing John with a wealth of material for his column, which becomes a hit with readers and helps increase the newspaper’s circulation. Jenny becomes pregnant but loses the baby early on. The difference in Marley is noticeable as he quietly cuddle up to her.  John & Jenny escape to Ireland for a vacation leaving Marley with a house sitter who is who finds him impossible to control, especially during the frequent thunderstorms that plague the area. Upon returning Jenny discovers she is pregnant again and this time she delivers a healthy boy, Patrick. When she has a second son, Connor, she opts to give up her job and become a stay-at-home mom, prompting John to take on a daily column for a pay increase. Due to the crime rate, the couple decides to move to a larger house in the safer neighborhood of Boca Raton, where Marley delights in swimming in the backyard pool.They also have a 3rd child, a girl called Colleen.

Jenny goes through a period of postpartum depression lashing out at Marley and as a result John asks Sebastian to take the dog for a few days when Jenny suggests that they give the dog away. However she calms down and says that Marley is family and she loves him. After John’s 40th birthday celebration he gets a job in Philadelphia and they move to a large house in the countryside. John soon realizes that he is a better columnist than reporter and pitches the column idea to his editor. Life is idyllic until the aging Marley begins to show signs of arthritis and deafness. An attack of gastric dilatation volvulus almost kills him, but he recovers. When a second attack occurs, it becomes clear surgery will not help him, and Marley is euthanized with John at his side. The family pay their last respects to their beloved pet as they bury him beneath a tree in their front yard and the children give letters of love to Marley. Jenny drops a necklace, that John had gifted her but Marley had once swallowed, with the grave.

Very funny and touching in many places. It’s a very nice movie to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I’d give it an 8.5 out of 10!

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