Year of the Dog


Year of the Dog

Critics Consensus

Year of the Dog is a warm and quirky comedy that never condescends to its eccentric characters.



Total Count: 142


Audience Score

User Ratings: 41,636
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Movie Info

An unremarkable administrative assistant finds her life going to the dogs both literally and figuratively in actor/screenwriter-turned-director Mike White's dark comedy drama. An inexplicably cheerful office worker whose somewhat sad excuse for a life seems to revolve around her pet beagle Pencil, Peggy (Molly Shannon) seems to relate better to her four-legged friend than she does to most humans. Most of her person-to-person interaction revolves around doting on other people's children and treating her co-workers to daily donuts, and Peggy just doesn't find much solace in the company of her know-it-all sister-in-law Bret (Laura Dern) or her anxiety-prone boss Robin (Josh Pais). When Peggy's dog Pencil is taken before his time, the devastated dog-lover is wracked with guilt. Now desperate to fill the gaping void that has suddenly opened in her life, Peggy agrees to a date with her gun-nut neighbor Al (John C. Reilly) that ends in disaster when she begins to suspect that the boorish brute may have in fact poisoned her ill-fated pooch. Later, after adopting every dog at the local pound and transforming herself into an overzealous animal-rights activist, the increasingly unhinged Peggy reaches out to asexual activist Newt (Peter Sarsgaard) in a last-grasp attempt at forming a human connection that is met with casual indifference.


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Critic Reviews for Year of the Dog

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (98) | Rotten (44)

  • What may catch audiences unawares is how unexpectedly life-affirming this little film about pet death is.

    Sep 22, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Loses its way, as if uncertain how to point out its moral and make us laugh at the same time.

    Aug 31, 2007 | Rating: 2/5
  • A bit of a dog's brunch.

    Aug 31, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • White also appears to have lost his grip, taking wild stabs at comedy and tragedy and ending up with something that's fractured and fluffy, and definitely not as cute as it thinks it is.

    Aug 31, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Though the film falters in terms of its lack of a streamlined narrative, there is no denying that it is packed to the rafters with meaty ideas and characters who are charged with a satisfying moral ambivalence.

    Aug 31, 2007 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Year of the Dog asks how far we should be willing to go for the love of animals, and for that matter, for love itself.

    May 4, 2007 | Full Review…

    Dana Stevens

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Year of the Dog

  • Feb 16, 2014
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 11, 2011
    Year of the Dog, or what could also be called, The Life and TImes of an Animal Activist, focuses on Peggy, played with quirky yet lovable sentiment by Molly Shannon. Peggy is completely passive, and has no companionship in her life, except for her little dog. One day the dog dies and Peggy is forced to cope with the reality of death, yet also the reality of life. In her grief, she meets Newt (Peter Sarsgaard) who works at a pet clinic. He also opens her eyes to an entire world/industry that abuses animals, kills them, and turns them into food. She begins a naiive yet noble campaign to save as many animals as she can and inform as many people as she can about what is being done to many animals in test labs, slaughterhouses, even in the pound. Director Mike White has a knack for creating oddball characters. They are aplenty here, but it makes the film feel like a Wes Anderson picture, which is never a bad thing. The cinematography by Tim Orr borrows a lot from Anderson, and Jonathan Demme, as characters are framed in the centre speaking directly into the camera. Regardless of the unoriginality, the film works as a strange yet touching comedy.
    Edward B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2010
    If there was ever a movie that filled you with as much warmth and fuzzyness as an actual dog, or anminal, this film is it. This was part comedy, and romance, but also part ireverent thriller. Wait! What? A thriller? Yes, it was full of suprrising twist, and nonsense. Either way, i enjoyed this film alot. For what ever reasons I know, and those reasons I don't know. This makes "The trurh About Cats and Dogs", look like "Complete and Utter sh*t".
    Joseph E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2009
    In this incredibly tender tale of a dog-loving woman's increasingly obsessive journey into animal activism, every single cast member gives a beautifully realized performance and each character makes an impression with even the smallest, yet very distinct mannerisms, traits, and quips. At first I felt the movie was trying too hard to be quirky, but it very soon became absorbing, heartbreaking, and genuinely amusing.
    Marisol M Super Reviewer

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