Story

This movie is based on the book of the same name and mirrors it very closely. It is a gentle story about a period in the lives of the Grogans. John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny (Jennifer Anniston) Grogan are newspaper reporters and happily married. After a few years, Jenny mentions the idea of becoming parents. John convinces her that it would be best to get a dog first.

Enter Marley, the world’s worst dog. Marley is a big, friendly and unruly labrador. He is completely untrainable, chews everything, howls when there are thunderstorms, knocks over people and things, and so on. There is, however, something endearing about him. Even though he drives them to distraction, they love him. He is there for the birth of their children, survives the move from Florida to Philadelphia, and brings a sense of security to their lives. He becomes part of a regular column written by John, and people are keen to read about his exploits each week.

Themes

Death of a family pet; adult relationships

Violence

There is no violence, but there are a couple of scenes where John and Jenny argue and shout at each other.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb a child under the age of five. The movie lacks interest, however, for children in this age group.

From 5-13

Children in this age group could be upset when Marley dies.

Over 13

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb a child over the age of 13.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including the following:

  • Jenny uses a pregnancy test kit on several occasions.
  • On John’s 40th birthday, Jenny tells John that they are not old. She takes off her clothes and hops in the pool. We see her starting to take off her top, and then John joins her in the pool.
  • In several scenes John and Jenny kiss. The implication is that they would like to do more but have to go to work or can’t continue for some other reason.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including John and Jenny drinking champagne from a bottle on their wedding night.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including the following:

  • John and Jenny kiss passionately on their wedding night, and when they decide to start trying to have children.
  • One night when John and Jenny are on holiday, they both end up in a single bed and a lot of squeaking comes from the bed.

Product placement

Starbucks and Coca Cola are displayed or used in this movie.

Coarse language

Marley & Me contains some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Marley & Me is a simple story about an average family and how much a pet can enrich family life. It is also about the way that life can throw surprises your way, no matter how much you plan.

Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include loyalty, love, and the importance of friends and family.