Marley & Me (2008)

Marley & Me is directed by David Frankel, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston (and Kathleen Turner and Alan Arkin in mini-roles). It’s based on the book by John Grogan.

John (Owen Wilson) and Jennifer (Jennifer Aniston) are both journalists and got recently married. They move to the big city to try their luck and soon, John gets a dog for Jennifer who turns their life around. The movie follows the lives of John and Jennifer along their story with Marley.

Marley & Me was very sweet, but never really mushy. Actually, I think it’s one of the most honest and realistic portrayals of a relationship on screen I have ever seen – there are no big conflicts, but there are fights. There are big emotions triggered by small things. Not everything’s perfect, but in the end, there’s loyalty. I like it.


There is nothing groundbreaking in this film (except maybe it’s stubborn refusal to be any more or any less than it is), but that makes it exceptionally charming. I just really felt like the film stuck very close to the autobiographical book and the book must have stuck close to reality. Especially in the relationship between John and Jennifer. Things aren’t glossed over but it’s not all dreary either.

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston do a very good job. I think this is one of the most nuanced performances Aniston has given, at least in the last years. And Owen Wilson should stick to the more quite approach to comedy (see also The Darjeeling Limited), it suits him.

I expected a lot more crazy dog scenes, but in the end I was very happy that there were not. Although I did laugh at various scenes and I really felt with the Grogan’s – I know what it’s like to have an annoying little dog in my life, but – and I know I’m repeating myself – I just really liked how John’s and Jennifer’s relationship was shown.


Of course the movie was not perfect – sticking to real life doesn’t lend itself to a very strong narrative structure – it was all a bit disjointed.

And it wasn’t the deepest or thoughtful thing I’ve ever seen.

But honestly, I didn’t care – I was very well entertained. I gotta thank my sister for choosing this, because I would have never seen it by myself.

8 thoughts on “Marley & Me (2008)

  1. I watched this movie with my little sister. While I saw a movie about a couple and the sacrifices and adjustments they have to make to stay together, she saw a completely different movie on the same screen – the one about a dog named Marley.

    I have a funny feeling that the movie would have worked without the dog. Although the dog is incredible.

    • Yeah, I think it would have worked without the dog, but the audience would have been quite different. And the dog did give it a nice structure.

      But you’re right – my sister also saw a completely different movie. Interesting.

  2. Interesting.
    The trailer I saw was for a film about a crazy dog who completely wrecks his owners’ life. The kind of comedy that has the obligatory Robin Williams cameo and lots of groanworthy “omg look what the dog is doing now!!!”-moments.
    Marketing can evil.

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