UPDATE: Thanks to Jackie I've modified the text below to correct the huge amount of errors I did. Sob. :(
Yesterday I saw "Marley & Me". It almost made me cry... I thought it was just a classic comedy with Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and some dogs hanging around. I couldn't be more wrong.
For me it's quite uncommon to be really touched by a movie, let alone to cry because of a movie. I have seen a lot of movies lately (even "sad" titles, like Gran Torino, Changeling, Frozen River, Revolutionary Road and so on...) but none touched me as much as "Marley & Me". I don't know if it sounds weird to you but it's true. Definitely.
I think there are 2 likely (and interesting) audiences for the movie: people who have/had a pet and people who don't but who are interested in pet. The first would see themselves in the main characters in the movie and the latter... well, I don't know. They could either decide to get a pet :) or to have more respect for all the people who love animals.
After the jump some thoughts about the movie, about me, about Tex and maybe some spoilers: I don't think the plot in this movie is that important. The point is how it has been told, but be advised: I'm going to highlight the spoilers.
First of all, my darling. :) He just turned 8 on April 3rd (quite a senior for a dog).
tex dormiente e contorto
Originally uploaded by orangeek
Tex is my first dog. When I was kid, I used to be allergic to dog hair so having a dog was a no-no. Both of my parents, when they were young, had dogs at home but, as I said, for my brother and me, Tex is our first pet.
In general, I'm not a tree-hugger or nature lover or an animal lover. I'm not a vegan/vegetarian, I love meat and I eat it rare, very rare. This should paint you a clear picture. But I do love Tex. Definitely, limitless.
I clearly remember a classmate of mine came to school one day , when I was young (I think I was 11 or 12 years old, maybe younger). He was really sad: his eyes were glistening. He even cried during class. The reason was that his dog, who at the time was almost 13 years old, had suddenly passed away the day before.
I can't imagine how bad ( what bastards and what jerks) we were (some classmates and me) to him that day, and maybe for the following days too. We even made jokes about his dog's death.
It's needless to say that I'm ashamed of this. Unfortunately, it wasn't the same at the time: we really couldn't understand the limitless love a person can have for a dog. And of course none of us, bastards, had ever had a pet.
These days, Tex, like Marley in the movie, has begun to have issues with his back legs. It began this winter: he has problems standing up after lying down for a while and he obviously feels pain because of his legs. The vet told us it's osteoarthritis and, like people with the same problem, there is nothing you could do to cure it. You have just to keep him excercised (by walking, with no running or jumping) and fit.
I don't know how to describe it but I can assure you I feel pain when I see him standing up with difficult. And he knows that: he understands it through the way I speak to him, from my tone of voice, from my smell ... I don't know. Nobody really knows how dogs can feel these emotions and how they understand human feelings but it happens. It definitely happens and every pet owner would agree.
SPOILER In the movie there is a scene where Marley, the dog, surrounded by the three kids after playing in the field, has evident issues going up the stairs. The youngest kid asks if something is wrong and his brother answers that there is nothing to worry about. "He's just tired since we played with him so much". His tone implies at the same time that he knows this isn't true but he simply doesn't want to accept it. He knows that Marley is getting old and that he will pass away eventually. He just can't stand that. /SPOILER
As I wrote, it's really uncommon for me to be touched by a movie. There are just a couple of movies that have gotten to me; and I'm even sure that these movies don't make others feel anything special. An example? "Top Gun". Can you believe it?? Such a macho / '80s / I'm_the_best_even_if_I'm_a_dwarf movie... how can such a thing touch you??? Well, I do agree that you can describe the whole movie with the three points stated above, but there is a scene that a few years ago almost made me cry. Is when Goose dies after the accident and Maverick is in the water (I can't access youtube right now so I can't pick the right link), holding his friend, dead. Yeah, I know: it's weird.
"Marley & Me" really touched me, especially in the very last scenes.
It's awkward that movies like "Changeling" (where a kid is kidnapped), "Gran Torino" (where nothing could be sadder than Clint Eastwood's face :) ) and so on, all where people are involved in some tragedy, didn't make me feel sad, or really touched, but this is exactly what happened.
Does it mean that I love animals (or fighter pilots :) more than people? I don't really know, except that I don't have any pilot hanging around at home but I do have Tex. :)
And to close on a happier note, another picture of the most beautiful labrador in the world.