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Friday, November 30, 2007

'Year of the Dog' Review & Quote of the Day

Matt and I watched Year of the Dog last night and I must say, if I had to choose any movie character throughout history who I think most resembles me (personality-wise, not appearance-wise), it would be Peggy, the protagonist of this story (Peggy is played by Molly Shannon). Consider the following similarities:
  • Stuck working in boring administrative jobs (fortunately for me, I escaped a couple of years ago);
  • Unusually attached to her dog(s);
  • Journey towards animal rights activism and veganism launched by premature loss of beloved dog;
  • Veganism inspired by fellow dog rescuing volunteer;
  • Suffers alienation from friends and family due to increasing commitment to animal rights causes and veganism;
  • Struggles to find balance between hope/action and despair.
Fortunately for me, the similarities are not universal... I have friends and family who love and accept me (most of them, at least!), plus a great husband and son. Peggy is a bit of a social outcast who relates better to dogs than to people.

The movie was a comedy/drama, so there were wonderful little bits of Molly-Shannon-ness sprinkled throughout the sometimes dark and sad parts of the movie.

{If you don't want to have the plot spoiled for you, stop reading here.}

A quick overview - after her beloved beagle, Pencil, dies before his time, Peggy becomes involved in dog rescue, which soon leads her to veganism and farm animal activism. Her friends and family are alternately bewildered, amused, and irritated by her newfound passions. (Laura Dern is especially wonderful as Peggy's saccharin sweet, neurotic, controlling, hilarious sister-in-law.)

Peggy suffers numerous losses, and eventually goes a little nutso and makes some, shall we say, bad decisions. She loses her job and puts her relationships in jeopardy. Ultimately though, she pulls through, gets her job back, and seems to achieve some semblance of balance in her life.

So, why am I telling you all this? Basically just to set up my quote of the day. At the close of the movie, Peggy sends the following in an email to her friends and family as she embarks on a bus full of fellow animal activists to go to an animal rights demonstration.

If you all didn’t think I was crazy, I’m sure you will now. How do I explain the things I’ve said and done? How do I explain the person I’ve become? I know I’ve disappointed everyone and I’m sorry for that. I wish I was a more articulate person.

I believe life is magical. It is so precious. And there are so many kinds of life in this life; so many things to love. The love for a husband or a wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend, the love for children, the love for yourself, and even material things. This is my love. It is mine. And it fills me, and it defines me, and it compels me on.

Something about this passage really touched me. Because really, what is animal activism, if not love? It feels powerful to claim it as my love. And it feels wonderful to admit that, like Peggy, it fills me, and defines me, and compels me on.


Vegan Girl said...

That is a great quote, I never heard of that movie, but I'm glad you reviewed it. I have to see it now. I have to say That is also how I am defined. I live for animals, they are my passion, my life.

lindsay said...

i've been meaning to watch this movie for ages now. thanks for the reminder! it sounds cute, but bittersweet.

girl least likely to said...

i'm not sure what's going on... on some blogger blogs lately, i haven't been able to use my own links/names like before. that "lindsay" comment is me, but my blogger identity is largely defunct... and if i try to use my "girl least likely to" identity it won't let me leave my email/url. weird!