The book had made me cry which is quite unusual, so I decided to see what the movie was like. Newlyweds John and Jennifer Grogan leave the Michigan snow behind to relocate in southern Florida where they settle into jobs as journalists at competing newspapers.
Thinking they are not yet ready to start a family, the pair decide to adopt a dog, a Labrador retriever that John names Marley after their favorite singer, Bob Marley. He is a so-called “clearance dog” on sale by the owner and they both fall in love with him from the start. Marley, however, proves to be a handful when he ruins the furniture, fails obedience school, is ostracized from the one beach that allows dogs, and becomes a general nuisance to everyone. Kathleen Turner has a neat cameo role as the obedience school instructor who tells the Grogans never to bring Marley back again.
The Grogan family grows as we follow John and Jennifer as they add Patrick, Connor and Colleen to the fold. Jennifer becomes a stay-at-home mom whose days are filled with cleaning up after Marley as well as the children. Marley gets a lot of love and attention but continues his destructive ways and is playfully called by his family “the world’s worst dog.”
Although John considers himself a reporter, he is given an additional task at his newspaper to write a regular column which he initially balked at. He realizes that he has a wealth of material in the antics of Marley and his column becomes a hit, increasing the circulation of his newspaper.
Relocation of his family to the Philadelphia area gives John an opportunity to realize his dream of being a reporter and they settle into life in the north and the family’s first snowfall. John comes to the realization that he prefers being a columnist rather than a reporter and proposes the same to his boss. Jenny makes the subtle suggestion that John has material for a book.
It is refreshing to watch a family movie where the husband and wife appear genuinely in love and work hard to create a good atmosphere for their family. At the same time, we witness Marley growing older and slowing down with ailments that are life-threatening.
Yes, I did cry during the last twenty minutes of the movie when John had to take Marley to the Vet’s to be put down. I have never been a dog lover until recently when I spent time with my son’s French bulldog, and I now understand the dynamic that operates between a man and his dog.
Dog lovers will enjoy “Marley and Me” and those who are not dog lovers may be surprised that they are affected deeply by this movie.
Movie – Marley and Me (2008)