The new film Megan Leavey starring Kate Mara tells the true life story of a woman who thought she had nothing to offer in this world and found a purpose and a new friend she was never expecting. The movie starts with a drunken Megan (Kate Mara) wasting her life away unable to recover from a tragedy she experienced. She comes from a broken home and her parents (Eddie Falco and an almost unrecognizable Bradley Whitford) aren’t much of a support system to help better herself. On a whim and against her families wishes, she decides to join the Marines. Unprepared for what is ahead of her, she struggles to become a warrior and her old demons begin to drag her down again. After she is reprimanded for her behavior, Megan is sent to clean the kennels of the Marine trained bomb sniffing dogs that will eventually head to Iraq. There she meets Rex, a scary and bull-headed German Shepard who she finds a bond with which sets off this inspiring and incredible true story.

Megan Leavey shows that sometimes the heroes our of wars are the most unlikely of candidates. The film takes an intriguing and intense look at how these dogs and their trainers are saving lives while having a huge target on their backs. The movie shows our duo as two losers who can’t make the cut to a highly trained pair who are on the front lines of the battle. Megan Leavey throws the audience right into war-torn Iraq as you follow Megan as she learns the dos and don’ts of this unforgiving land she must make safe for all the soldiers who must follow.

There are times in Megan Leavey when director Gabriela Cowperthwaite struggles to find the balance between being a gritty war film or a movie that wants to pull at your heartstrings with the relationship between Megan and Rex. Sometimes the pace of Megan Leavey is in such a rush to show the horrors of war, but then at other times will come to a screeching halt when Megan is living the civilian life on leave. The film can also be a little too predictable at times when it intentionally toys with your emotions as Megan takes on the military institution in order to protect her fellow furry marine. What will get you through downtime is the strong work by Kate Mara playing the far from perfect Megan.

Mara brings many layers to Leavey as she struggles with life as a soldier and the feelings she has towards her only true friend in life Rex. She’ll make you cringe with some of her actions then fight back the tears when you realize how much love she has in her heart for the dog no one could help. Megan Leavey is also important, because it puts the focus on women and their role in combat and how much of a vital role they play in a so-called man’s world. More than anything Megan Leavey is a film that just makes you feel so good inside allowing it to be easy to overlook some of the film’s flaws.

Overall, I give Megan Leavey 3 out of 4 stars.

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