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Year of the Dog Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… weird. Go see it! Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Overall, Year of the Dog evinces an appealing sentimentality without being maudlin or only puppy-dog cute.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    An engaging tragicomedy, exploring the consequences of single-minded fervor in a humorous and humane fashion.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    In Year of the Dog, there are dark moments that are both strangely poignant and bizarrely hilarious. The ending took me by surprise. In a way it's a cheat, a redemption that arrives out of nowhere. But it's also a cosmic joke, a perfectly funny, sincere salute to dog and pet-lovers everywhere.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    I mean no impertinence when I say that as a portrait of love and grief, writer-director Mike White's exceptional film Year of the Dog deserves the same admiration accorded Joan Didion's exceptional memoir "The Year of Magical Thinking."

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  • See all Year of the Dog reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

SNL alum shines as grieving, lonely animal lover.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this dramedy chronicles a pet lover's transformation into a hardcore animal-rights activist. The film portrays veganism and animal adoption positively and casts a negative light on game hunting, wearing fur, and eating meat. Molly Shannon's character is socially awkward and incredibly lonely, so there are some tear-jerking scenes of her after her beloved dog's accidental death. Children who have pets and/or love animals may be disturbed by photographic images of animal cruelty, a wall of mounted stuffed animals, and three instances of pets dying.

  • Families can talk about how Peggy's character is portrayed. Does the movie link her depression with "craziness"? Is that accurate? What do you think about her belief that humans disappoint but animals always have love to give. Is it healthy for someone to love their pet(s) more than other humans? Families can also discuss how the media deals with social issues like animal rights. Are movies and TV shows an appropriate forum to deal with those issues? Why or why not? Was Peggy justified in taking her niece to the animal sanctuary? What about when she ruins her sister-in-law's fur coats? Kids: What do you think about animal rights?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Peggy forges her boss' signature to donate funds to animal-rights charities but later apologizes. The heartbreak of losing her dog results in Peggy discovering her inner animal activist.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Images of animals used in lab tests are shown on a computer. Disturbing scenes of a dog near death and its owner's overwhelming grief. Off-screen, an aggressive dog kills a much smaller one, and viewers see another crying pet owner. A small child is told that pigs and chickens are murdered to be her food.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A couple makes out loudly in front of Peggy. Layla wears low-cut tops. Peggy and Newt share an awkward kiss. Al's girlfriend does a sexy dance.

  • language false3

    Language: Sparingly used: "bitch" (in the "dog way"), "piss," "cripple," "hell." Peggy compares a slaughterhouse to the Holocaust.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Several brands are occasionally featured: Mercedes, Oompa Toys, Gymboree, and Victoria's Secret,

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Peggy gets drunk on New Year's Eve (while babysitting) and has wine on a date. Layla suggests getting "wasted" and offers Peggy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax before taking it herself.