Friday, July 24, 2015

Year of the Dog

It's difficult to describe my experience of the movie Year of the Dog. I had a very emotional reaction to it, starting at the beginning sequence showing the sweet relationship between Peggy and her dog Pencil, and his death soon after the start. Year of the Dog is about what happens in her life after this event. It seems as if the movie is going to be about her finding human love to replace this relationship, but it goes much deeper into her the quality of her inner life, the limitations of the world around her, and the profound meaning that can be found through compassion. Peggy is flawed and not always "likeable", but she is drawn with so much respect and kindness by the writer and director, and Molly Shannon's performance, that I physically felt her pain and yearning and stubborn earnestness. Year of the Dog is billed as a comedy, and there are very many funny moments, awkward moments, terrific lines and scenes, marvelous supporting cast. Still, the emotional depths and sadnesses here made it not a comedy for me, but a touching, quiet, bittersweet drama. The ending -- which turns its back on any rom-com expectations -- carried a very unique and lasting beauty.

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