Marley & Me: Charming from Start to Finish

Seeing Marley & Me made me ache for an adorable puppy for my own family.

Betty at the Movies

Marley & Me: Charming from Start to Finish

Makes me want to get a dog … almost!

-Stephanie Elliot

Marley and MeI didn’t think I’d be spending part of the day after Christmas bawling my eyes out, but I did.

You see, I went to see Marley & Me.

You also see, I am not a huge dog lover. I am not necessarily a Jennifer Aniston lover either. I am indifferent to Owen Wilson (though still curious as to what was so bad in his life that made him try to end it).

But, the draw of theater popcorn and a holiday movie, and the fact that I had a choice between Marley & Me and Valkyrie sent me “to the dogs” and I spent two hours falling in love with a story about a puppy and his family. And although I never read the best-selling book, I knew enough about the story and the famous real-life dog Marley to know (SEMI-SPOILER ALERT!) how it ends. Still, knowing this, I cried and laughed and loved the whole movie! It was  charming and even though it has a sad ending, it doesn’t leave you feeling sad. It’s a feel-good movie with just the right amount of tear-jerking.

The story is a simple one: Man and woman fall in love, get married and get a dog. Dog is an unruly, but loveable part of the family. Dog chews up a bunch of stuff, including bras and jewelry. Man and woman have a child, then another … and another! Man and woman fight; no one understands man but dog. Man grapples with man stuff – being married, his career and being a father. Man changes job, changes to another job, transfers family to a new location. Dog, being man’s best friend, stands by man, all the while chewing their house goods, evading the Hitler of dog-trainers (played by a very tough-looking Kathleen Turner), and eventually proving that while Marley was the worst dog in the world, he really was the best part of their lives.

On the one hand, seeing Marley & Me made me ache for an adorable puppy for my own family, which is much like Grogan’s family. Just like them, we also have two boys and one girl, we also lived in Philadelphia for a time, and I’m a writer. But for as much joy Marley brought into their lives, I am not sure I can fathom the idea of a four-legged family member of our own. The loss of a pet I would grow to love as the Grogan family did would be too much for me.

Stephanie Elliot is Betty’s Lit Lounge and Parenting editor, and she also answers your parenting questions at Just Another Manic Mommy. Visit her at or

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0 thoughts on “Marley & Me: Charming from Start to Finish

  1. I saw this movie this weekend, and it was the BEST! It was incredibly heartwarming, and truly made me feel like I was not alone in what it is like to raise young kids! LOVED IT!

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