A story about a Marine Corporal and her military combat dog could end up being an emotional rollercoaster, a Hallmark movie, TV tearjerker of the week, but in the film "Megan Leavey," based on a true life story, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite knows just what to do — stand back and let the tale unfold itself.
Megan has joined the Marines to get away from a despicable upstate New York small town and her self-absorbed mother (Edie Falco), whose live-in boyfriend (Will Patton) gets under her skin, too.
After a night of drinking on one of her first nights in the military, she parties a little too hard, and her military superiors are none too happy with her. She's forced to clean kennels for K9s being trained for active duty. But it's sheer fate — she finds a friend in an aggressive German shepherd named Rex.
A typical, yet not so typical war-is-hell story unfolds with dog and owner on an Iraq tour of duty that's harrowing. Rex, along with Megan (yes, he's the leader of this expedition), is sent to sniff out improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Complications arise when one explodes and almost kills them both. She and Rex get separated when he gets put back into active duty. She tries to rescue the dog to become her companion, but because of his war days, she''s told he's unfit for domestic life, says a military veterinarian. He's got PTSD.
Heartstrings are pulled and the fact that it's based on a true life experience makes it all the more inspiring.
The girl and her dog story shows a different side of the military and about unsung heroes who we hardly ever hear about.
"Megan Leavey" is playing in Miami at Lincoln Theatre, Cinepolis Coconut Grove, AMC Sunset Place, AMC Aventura, and other theaters in South Florida.