Peggy is single, childless, in her 40s, a lonely executive assistant in a friendly office. Her dog Pencil is the love of her life, and when he dies after eating some sort of toxin, Peggy's life spins out of her control: a friendly neighbor invites her for dinner; a friendly staff member at her vet's calls with an abused dog he recommends she adopt - she does, and also finds herself attracted to this fellow. She becomes a vegan, supports animal-rights causes, and embroils her brother's young children in these concerns. Saving dogs and other animals become such a passion that her mental health and her job may be in danger. Are regaining control and finding love beyond her reach? Written by
When Your Passion and Love For Animals Becomes An Obsession
On the surface, 'Year of the Dog' looks like just another recycled dog movie. However, after reading the synopsis, I got interested and was expecting something light. But, what Mike White shows the viewer is a different side to loving your pet, a slightly darker side. I could definitely relate to Peggy's love and passion towards animal and rescuing them and I understand her frustration when she feels helpless as she learns of the cruelty against animals. At some point, her passion and dedication becomes an obsession and that's when things unfold towards darkness. To her, Pencil's death represented the death of more things than the loss of one pet.
White does not take sides in his story. He does not preach to the audience to go and start taking in pets nor does he forbid it. He merely points out towards a possible side of loving animals, especially when that becomes an obsession and that forcing your beliefs upon others does not accomplish anything.
Many have complained of how none of the characters are likable. I do agree to this but I must add that each and every one of them are at least recognizable and that makes them real enough for me.
Molly Shannon acts with guns blazing. She is cast against type and her restrained performance adds to her versatility. A self-righteous Laura Dern, a not too smart chatterbox Regina King, a smug Tom McCarty, a not so neighbourly John C. Reilly and an impatient Peter Sarsgaard are all terrific in their roles.
One shouldn't be deceived by what face value suggests. There's far more to 'Year of the Dog' than what is suggested. With excellent writing and direction by Mike White and a fantastic performance from Molly Shannon, this is worth a watch, whether one likes it or not.
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