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Year of the Dog (2007)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 140
Fresh: 97 | Rotten: 43

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


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 8

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



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 41,438

My Rating

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


Drama, Art House & International, Comedy

Mike White

Aug 28, 2007


Paramount Vantage - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (144) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (97) | Rotten (43) | DVD (12)

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.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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 Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

White's humanist account of a woman more comfortable with animals than people is another intricately crosshatched sketch in his gallery of outsiders.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are those who believe empathy is the quality that separates man from beast, but what does it say that White directs his compassion exclusively toward animals?

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Much is said in little moments: The entire cast offers jots of humor and insight, from Reilly and Sarsgaard to Laura Dern as a spiny sister-in-law and Regina King as Layla, a vehemently supportive friend.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Comments (2)
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Year of the Dog is a feel-good, feel-bad movie about personal choice in the face of an overwhelming world. It brings more than you expect and leaves you wondering. How extraordinarily brave.

April 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Amid fearsome cataracts of disdain, Shannon somehow survives

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Shannon seems like quite an unorthodox choice for such a subdued, minimalistic character, but White actually wrote the part for her and she does him proud.

August 28, 2008 Full Review Source:

Director Mike White is really good at creating an uneasy feeling in a normal setting. But the question remains, do you want him to?

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

SNL alum shines as grieving, lonely animal lover.

October 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

poly syntoma hanei to stoho toy kai to neronei me synaisthimatikizoyses katastaseis kai pepatimenes koinonikes eyaisthisies, arhizontas toys kykloys gyro ap' ta idia kai ta idia, alla toylahiston ehei merika haritomena kadrarismata kai tin Molly Shannon m

October 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Despite director Mike White's ability to make the heartfelt moments count, the film never makes the grade. The title prompts great expectations for animal lovers; the result is a bit like a doggie bag with a taste of everything, but not enough of anything

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The trailer suggests a cheery comedy but brace yourself for some darkness in this shaggy dog story.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Movies need not always be uplifting. Comedies don't always have to be happy. That said Mike White's Year of the Dog is downright depressing without revealing much of the human condition it strives to.

September 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Views | Comment (1)

This is a lovely little film about discovering your inner self, the passion that drives you, and then coming out with it.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Year of the Dog isn't quite the comedy it's been marketed as, but there's still a lot to chew on here, notably Molly Shannon's performance as a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Loses its way, as if uncertain how to point out its moral and make us laugh at the same time.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London | Comment (1)
This is London

With smashing performances and plenty of heart, it joins Bobcat Goldthwait's recent Sleeping Dogs as a worthy addition to 2007's woof-and-ready hall of fame.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Oddball comedy about a lonely, dog-loving secretary, Peggy (played, with unsettling intensity, by Molly Shannon).

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

Shannon, a born comic sidekick, cannot carry the central role; disappointingly, the story sputters out into a sentimental finale.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A bit of a dog's brunch.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

As you would expect from a writer like Mike White, Year Of The Dog is a smartly scripted, darkly funny work. But from Molly Shannon's performance to White's own ability as a director of actors, there are plenty of pleasant surprises here.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

John Cusack gives the performance of his life in this top-class horror.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Comments (2)
Daily Mail [UK]

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.

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: BBC

The writer-director's real talent is in showing that we're all freaks and geeks in one way or another. It's just that some of us are better at hiding it than others...

August 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Year of the Dog

February 16, 2014
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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.
March 11, 2011

Super Reviewer

This movie sucks. For Peggy, it seems dogs provide the love and attention she needs. But when tragedy strikes, Peggy goes a little crazy.

But, I just don't see the point of the movie. It is agonizingly slow. The people in the movie are shallow. And it drives me crazy that Peggy couldn't see that she could be a dog-loving vegan if she wanted to, but no one can convince the whole world to turn into copies of herself.
May 27, 2009

Super Reviewer

Middle-aged Molly Shannon is distraught after the death of her dog. She tries to fill the void with dating, but eventually it all comes back to her connecting with animals more than humans. Shannon gives an excellent performance, at times sweet and at other times crazy. Her good intentions start to be forced upon those close to her. Her family also play it well, as they seem overprotective and annoying, but certainly don't deserve some of Shannon's lashings. Sarsgaard is his excellent self in a sort of sad but uplifting role. Perhaps it all becomes a bit too sweet in the end, but the film has some wonderful comedic examples of passion vs. insanity.
April 28, 2009

Super Reviewer

    1. Peggy: This is my love. It is mine, and it fills me and it defines me and it compels me on.
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
    1. Peggy: I've always been disappointed by people. I've only been able to really count on my pets.
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
    1. Layla: Peggy, how are you ever going to find a boyfriend, if you keep shacking up with dogs?
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
    1. Newt: Animals are like us. They live for love.
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
    1. Al: Accidents can happen. That's why I never keep guns in my house.
    2. Peggy: That's good.
    3. Al: Just knives.
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
    1. Layla: I believe there is someone on this planet for us all. Even retarded, crippled people get married. You just have to be open.
    – Submitted by Frances H (16 months ago)
View all quotes (6)

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