(Spoiler alert: almost this entire post is about the ending of this film)
Don’t be fooled by the cute pictures you may have seen around town promoting Marley and Me. An adorable Labrador on a lead, which is playfully tangled around his happy (slightly scantily clad) joyous-looking owners. It’s all smiles and light-hearted fun, the advertisers would like us to believe. Indeed, I myself was fooled by these idyllic posters.
So, on a flight yesterday I thought it’d be a nice, enjoyable way to pass some of the time by watching this film. Bearing in mind I don’t like flying at the best of times and I thought a light-hearted comedy would help keep my spirits up.
I was lucky enough to have been seated in the first row of economy, in an exit seat. Not so luckily, this also meant that I was sat right in front of where everyone queued for the toilet.
About ten minutes before the end of the film I suddenly broke down into uncontrollable tears. (For the five minutes previously to this I had been valiantly trying to hold these tears back). And I had a very uncomfortable audience of strangers right in front of me, very awkwardly watching me bawling away to myself. It was a highly embarrassing incident, and in such a confined space like a plane there really is nowhere to run. Well, I suppose I could have run into the toilet, but as I was all too well aware, there was a huge queue for this.
Oh yes, like all light hearted comedies the main star of the show DIES in Marley and Me. And not just a quick death where they immediately move the tale onto happier times to help you see that everything will be alright. It’s a long drawn out death, where you see the dog slowly getting more and more ill, you have various heart-rendering speeches from each of the actors, you see a decision being made to put the dog to sleep, you even have a funeral for goodness sakes, oh and to top it all off, home videos of the dog when it was alive watched by an innocent, brokenhearted child!
I hardly ever cry in films. To be honest, there are far sadder things to donate your tears to in the real world. But this really broke me down into pieces.
I felt like I’d been robbed. No one watches a ‘comedy’ in order to feel half suicidal by the end of it! Comedies are supposed to a be a completely unrealistc portrayal of life where even though they do often contain small slightly tragic events within them, its nothing a quick joke can’t fix and soon everyone is happy and care free by the end. Instead this ending made Titanic look rather jolly.
You’d think you’d be safe with a cast consisting of Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. In fact instead this only makes things worse. As, although both of them normally opt for ‘safe’ films, they are actually both very good actors and so, whereas normally with these lightwieght films where an animal dies or runs away you get some unknown, slightly rubbish actor crying and greiving, and its actualy quite unconvincing so you don’t reallly care, with this film Aniston and Wilson really manage make you heart wrench.
I think it was misleading to get people to watch this film under the guise of being a comedy. I’m not sure if the film would have been such a massive sucess if it was made clear to people that it is actuallly incredibly sad. As I’m sure most people see it for similar reasons to why I decided to watch it.
But if you do decide to watch it at all then try not to do so on a plane with a load of strangers poised right in front of you, ready to shuffle aroud uncomfortably as you break down in tears right in front of them, under neon lighting.