Safety Month Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Drowners The best from Bose just got wireless Fire TV Stick Sun Care Patriotic Picks STEM Amazon Cash Back Offer AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Segway miniPro
Customer Review

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good 'Year' For Shannon and White, October 10, 2007
This review is from: Year of the Dog (DVD)
Screenwriter Mike White's "Year of the Dog," which marks his directorial debut, was underappreciated during theatrical release last spring despite its being chockfull of wit, charm, intriguing characters and a fiercely original plot. Molly Shannon strays out of comedic bounds and nails the lead character of Peggy, proving she has a wealth of dramatic talent that has gone largely underused. Now on DVD, her performance is a grand revelation.

Peggy is a typical wallflower working in a typical office building as a typical secretary. In her early 40's, her social calendar is an arctic wilderness yet she is acquiescent, for her supreme pleasure in life is devotion to Pencil, her impossibly adorable pet beagle. Pencil dies in a needless accident, however, and Peggy is sent into a harrowing tailspin. The death of a house pet may not seem more like an unfortunate event than a grand trauma, but viewers with this mindset are in for a surprise - the realization of Pencil's death is most rattling, and Shannon is a marvel to watch as her ensuing devastation twists and jerks throughout the course of the movie affecting all aspects of her life.

No one is able to empathize with her sad state, which puts her at odds with the world. Her friend and co-worker Layla, a Type A personality portrayed by the incomparable Regina King, insists that Peggy pursue a romantic life, loosen up and "stop shacking up with dogs." Her brother Pier and sister-in-law Bret, played with [...]-retentive relish by Thomas McCarthey and Laura Dern, expect her to move on quickly and avoid saying "d-e-a-t-h" in front of their first-grader. Meanwhile, her self-involved boss Robin, played to archetypal tight-wound perfection by Josh Pais, expects an early Christmas bonus should ease her troubles. Her neighbor Al, played by the always reliable John C. Reilly, hardly offers her any comfort either - never mind that he may be indirectly responsible for Pencil's death.

Then a light suddenly shines on Peggy in the form Newt, an ASPCA volunteer played by Peter Sarsgaard. As a result of their interactions and commonalities Peggy begins to feel parts of herself humanized that had before been merely dismissed, and soon embarks on a long, arduous journey that tests her willpower and inner spirit, not to mention her values.

"I've always been disappointed by people. I've really only been able to count on my pets," she says. "But it's enough."

Many will chastise White's script and question if PETA helped fund "Year of the Dog" due to its uncompromising look at the early stages that result in beef stew on the family table (though it never gets graphic) and animal rights issues in general. However, there are definite checks and balances within the script, which tells a story not about animals but about how one woman's deep love for them puts her on a path of self-discovery.

"There are so many kinds of life in this life - so many things to love," says Peggy. "This is my love. It is mine."

The idea that the definition of love is different for all people certainly warrants a movie of its own, and "Year of the Dog" does it justice many times over. Will it burn up the Oscars? Probably not. Rent it anyway.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Track comments by e-mail

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 1, 2007 8:57:40 PM PDT
I don't totally agree with your review, but your smooth and articulate synopsis and evaluations are very convincing. Great job! JP

Posted on Dec 14, 2007 7:29:56 AM PST
agilicairn says:
Thank you, Mr. Palma! I started to write a review, but you've already said what I would've said, and probably much better than I could have!

The overriding message of this movie is, indeed, as you say so eloquently, "The idea that the definition of love is different for all people."

While I am happy that the movie takes a look at the plight of animals, as you pointed out, the movie is about people. And wow, what a movie.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 31, 2007 9:40:53 AM PST
Rudy Palma says:
Thank you very much for your tremendous compliment.

I saw this movie alone - completely alone - the first time I saw it. No one was interested seeing it with me, and when I arrived at the theater, I was the only one there. It simply wasn't given a chance, but then again I suppose this isn't the kind of movie that really packs them in the aisles. I do feel like it missed its chances on the arthouse circuit though - it only lasted one week at my local arthouse cinema and I had to track it down to one place 15 minutes further down the road - and it left there one week later.

So I'm glad to see that you got a chance to see it and enjoyed it as much as I did. This is one of those movies that so many would appreciate if only they heard about it and picked it off the shelf.

It is definitely my absolute favorite movie of 2007, hands down. I have never seen any film more honest, beautiful and well-crafted than this one.

Cheers. :)
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details