Based on a true story, Megan Leavey follows its titular character (Kate Mara) as she leaves home to join the Marines, in order to find some sense of purpose in her aimless life after the death of her best friend. Even after going through basic training, though, Megan can’t help but act out, which leads to punishment as a grunt for soldiers training dogs. Megan is fascinated by what they do, and decides to push herself so she can work in the unit. When she gets through, she’s eventually assigned Rex, the most volatile dog in the unit. The two form a bond, though, and manage to become what each other needs.
Megan Leavey isn’t a perfect film. There’s more exposition used to explain how Megan doesn’t fit in, with very little actually shown to demonstrate that things aren’t working out for her. There’s the occasional argument with her mother, and the single incident that has her sent to the dogs that’s made to seem like the culmination of bad behavior which we don’t see or hear about. But the film manages to work, thanks to Mara’s committed performance. That performance sustains the film’s shortcomings up until Megan meets Rex, at which point their relationship is able to sustain the film. Megan Leavey is a solid, inspiring film that will manage to pull the heartstrings of all but the most hardened of hearts.