Megan Leavey

Director
Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Runtime
1 h 56 min
Release Date
9 June 2017
Genres
Drama, War
Overview
The true story of Marine Corporal Megan Leavey, who forms a powerful bond with an aggressive combat dog, Rex. While deployed in Iraq, the two complete more than 100 missions and save countless lives, until an IED explosion puts their faithfulness to the test.
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  • Megan Leavey
    WarDrama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewSometimes, the only thing that can turn a troubled life around is the love of a good dog. And sometimes, when a life is troubled enough, even a bad dog can be enough. That's the story of Megan and Rex. In the wake of a tragic loss of a friend in high school, Megan's numb to life and numbing her life with alcohol. She can't keep a job. She has no friends. Her mother, Jackie, is always on her case for something. One day in 2001, she decides a radical change is necessary: So she enlists with the Marines. But basic training is hard, and Megan's still struggling. When she gets busted for public urination on base (after going out drinking with some other Marines one night), it seems like the young marine is about to crash and burn again. The discipline doled out to her—cleaning the kennels of the K9 bomb-sniffing dog unit—proves a providential turning point, however. It's there that Megan meets Rex, an ill-tempered, teeth-baring German shepherd with an attitude problem as big as Megan's. For the first time since enlisting, Megan has a sense of purpose: She wants to become one of the Marine's dog handlers. And about the time she accomplishes everything necessary to join the program, Rex bites his handler's hand, breaking multiple bones. Rex gets reassigned to Megan. She knows there's a good dog lurking under all that bad behavior. Soon Megan and Rex are shipped out to Iraq to sniff out bombs and munitions. But the real battle for Megan and Rex will begin in earnest after they're both wounded in combat there. Positive ElementsOnce Megan finds something to live and fight for—namely earning Rex's trust and working with him to become a top-notch K9 "soldier"—she and her canine charge repeatedly demonstrate courage, conviction and perseverance. We're told that female dog handlers typically aren't deployed into active, front-line combat situations. But Megan and Rex are the exception, and they both perform heroically—above and beyond the call of duty, as the saying goes. Megan is awarded a Purple Heart after she and Rex are both injured in battle. Both Megan and Rex are shipped back to the states for recovery and rehab. Megan is at the end of her enlistment commitment, and she decides that she can't bear the thought of re-upping and going back into combat. But another conflict awaits: the one that she faces trying to adopt Rex. The dog has earned the ire of a Marine veterinarian who believes Rex is too dangerous, too damaged, too volatile to be adopted. That woman brands Rex "unadoptable." Rex is assigned to a new handler and sent back to Iraq. Megan, despondent about being unable to adopt her beloved furry partner, finds encouragement from her father, Bob. He encourages her, saying, "The thing is, you've got to keep living. You got to figure out what it would take to make it worth it." "Rex would be worth it," she responds. And so she goes to a different sort of "war" to earn the right to adopt her former bomb-sniffing dog, going as far as contacting a U.S. senator to have that "unadoptable" label overturned. Serving in the Marines, meanwhile, is shown to be as stereotypically difficult in the beginning as we've often seen it in movies. (See Other Negative Content.) That said, once past some of the initial "hazing," these Marines are shown to be men and women of honor and integrity who would do anything to save each other. And though he doesn't agree with the decision to make Rex "unadoptable," Megan's superior officer in the dog-training program does try to help her understand the logic involved. "They aren't pets," Gunnery Sgt. Massey explains. "They aren't even dogs anymore. They're warriors. And they come back with all the same issues we do." Indeed, Megan returns from Iraq as someone who's wounded and broken in different ways than before. She has nightmares. She jumps at the sound of any loud, unexpected noise. She verbally lambasts a man who leaves his dog in a hot car. Those aren't good things, obviously. But the film gives us a picture of what many veterans returning from combat may experience. Megan's primary source of support during this time is a post-traumatic stress disorder support group, where she's able to express some of her emotions. In one of those meetings, when it's unclear if she'll ever get to adopt Rex, she's asked by the facilitator what she would say to Rex if she could tell him anything she wanted. Megan responds, "I'd thank him for trying to teach me what love is." Spiritual ContentSomeone says of a Marine killed in combat, "He was a good man. God bless his soul." There are a few passing verbal and visual references to Islam when Megan is stationed in Iraq. A fellow Marine, Matt Morales, tells her, "Iraqis don't like dogs. it's in their religion." Marines (and Rex) search an Iraqi's house for weapons, moving aside a large stack of prayer rugs to find where the cache is hidden. Sexual ContentMegan and Morales eventually become lovers. We see them kissing. A scene shows him (clothed) on top of her. They're also shown in bed together, him shirtless, in a scene that implies that they've spent the night together. Female marines getting dressed in their barracks are shown wearing sports bras. Megan verbally references the infidelity her mother committed that led to her parents' divorce. We see shirtless Marines and twice hear the phrase, "Panties in a pretzel."Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentMorales tells Megan that there's a deep Iraqi religious and cultural prejudice against female soldiers, especially dog-handlers. He says some insurgent Muslims place a high bounty placed on their heads, and that Iraqi enemies want to rape and murder American servicewomen. Elsewhere, American military personnel have multiple very tense encounters with wary Iraqi civilians. Rex bites his original handler, and we hear that the attack broke six bones in the man's hand. During dog training, Megan gets bitten in the backside by Rex, too (something Megan's fellow Marines meanly set her up for). Megan Leavey and Rex are wounded in a battle that begins with both of them being blasted back by an exploding IED. That explosion doesn't completely incapacitate either of them, but they're both wounded. (We see blood dripping from Megan's ruptured eardrums.) Megan insists that she and Rex are still fit to fight (though another soldier suggests that Megan likely has a concussion). Her argument convinces others, and Megan's platoon follows her lead, going after a nest of insurgents in a bombed-out village. More combat subsequently includes enemy fighters being shot and killed in an intense firefight. Enemy RPGs yield multiple explosions that shower Americans with debris. Another explosion blasts Megan out of the vehicle she's trying to get into. After the battle, wounded Megan is eventually medevacked out of the Iraq, and we see her recovering in hospital stateside. A painful conversation between Megan and her greedy mother revolves around the older woman asking Megan how much money they'd receive if Megan were to be killed in action. Megan is utterly—and rightly—disgusted by her mother's inquiry. Crude or Profane LanguageTwo f-words, about 15 s-words. There's one use of the f-word stand-in "fricking." God's name is misused nearly 10 times (including four pairings with "d--n"), while Jesus' name is abused three times. We hear "a--" and "p---" four times each, while "a--hole," "d--n," "b--ch," "h---" and "douchebag" are used one to three times each. "Crap," "sucks" and "idiot" are spoken as well. Drug and Alcohol ContentA couple of scenes involving alcohol take place early in the film. Megan gets fired from a civilian job for being hung over too frequently. She has a beer at a bar. A scene with fellow female marines shows them tossing back shots before they stumble back to the barracks, obviously inebriated. We also hear a story about a high school student who overdosed and died after ingesting a fatal combination of alcohol and unnamed drugs. Other Negative ElementsMarine culture has never been known for being gentle or coddling. Still, when a master sergeant calls new recruits "screw ups, laggards and losers," among other bullying putdowns, it's pretty wince-inducing. Elsewhere in the film, Iraqis are called "hadjis" by American soldiers. A drunk woman vomits. Megan, also intoxicated, urinates behind a bush, but gets caught by base military police. We see Megan as she cleans up myriad dog droppings (as punishment for her misbehavior) in a smelly kennel. Elsewhere, Megan says to Rex, "Did you just fart? That's disgusting." ConclusionMegan Leavey is an inspiring story about two war heroes: a determined young woman and the dog she unexpectedly bonds with while serving in the Marines. Megan has significant hurdles to overcome in her life; and her dog, Rex, does as well. Together they help each other to a better place—and they put their lives on the line for their country along with way. Unlike some war movies these days, Megan Leavey doesn't try to do anything more than tell that poignant story. There's no critical, political subtext critiquing the war or American foreign policy. Instead, we've got an unlikely genre mashup—dog movie meets war movie—one that shows Megan, Rex and the Marines in general as warriors willing to sacrifice to do their difficult jobs. That said, Megan Leavey is a war movie. As such, it depicts jarring battlefield violence and includes about as much profanity as moviemakers can get away with in a PG-13 movie these days. (There's the suggestion of a sexual relationship, too, though we don't really see much of that.) Those elements probably make Megan's story a more believable one, but they might also be enough to make parents think twice about when it comes to younger viewers of this otherwise stirring story.Join the Conversation Have some thoughts about this movie? Join the conversation with us on Facebook!Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Debbie Schlussel
The New York Post
@DebbieSchlussel
(Reviewer Site/Bio)
  • Wknd Box Office: Megan Leavey, The Mummy, Paris Can Wait, It Comes At Night, My Cousin Rachel
    Blog Posts Movie Reviews The Mummy – Rated PG-13: I never saw the original “The Mummy” movie, but as with most other reboots, I’m not sure why this was and is necessary (other than to earn Hollywood types, including star Tom Cruise, a big paycheck). If the original Mummy movie was anything like this, I’m glad I missed it. This is a mess. About the first 25% of the movie is fine, but then it just becomes a totally ridiculous mess and never recovers. I mean, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Russell Crowe, who famously attacked Jewish circumcision but not the Muslim kind)? Really? That needed to be inserted into this movie? Only because the scriptwriters wrote such a weak, awful cyclone of a story. The tornado of a script picks everything up in ts whirlwind and then throws it to the ground, severely damaged. In the original Mummy movie, the mummy is male. In this one, it’s a woman–an Egyptian princess (Moroccan actress, Sofia Boutella), who is robbed of her birthright when her father, the Pharoah, has a male heir. Yup, somehow this faux-feminist story is a justification for the chick mummy’s evil . . . or something. It’s hard to tell which way the movie is rooting, since it’s all over the place. The movie begins with the mummy-ette’s story, then fast forwards to contemporary times when American troops are still in Iraq (this is the second movie like that this week). Cruise and a fellow former soldier are dealers in stolen antiquities looted from the Middle East (there’s Hollywood’s anti-Western, evil-White-man-takes-from-the-Muslims narrative again). They are in the mountains, scoping out the ancient Iraqi city of Nineveh (which was Assyrian, back in the day). The city is now in the control of insurgents and they end up in the crossfire. Soon the insurgents are vanquished and leave, as a sinkhole swallows everything and reveals an ancient Egyptian tomb–that of the aforementioned Egyptian princess. Cruise, the other guy, and a sexy female archeologist enter the tomb and Cruise ends up freeing the princess’ tomb from a bath of mercury, allowing her spirit to come back to life. On the way back to the West, the princess’ evil spirit causes an air disaster over the UK. Then, the story starts moving and gets very stupid very quickly. Cruise, who should be dead, is miraculously alive and constantly sees the possessed ghost of his fellow antiquities robber. Cruise learns that the sexy archeologist is really evil and an acolyte of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But then he is allied with her against the mummy. It doesn’t make sense, nor does most of this movie. The rest of the movie revolves around the mummy trying to get a sword re-united with a magical jewel that will complete the restoration of her powers and ability to destroy humanity. Or something. It’s kinda confusing. And apparently the sword is buried in an old (but newly discovered) Crusader burial ground under the London subway. HUH? Yeah, I know. It’s absurd. And not worth your ten-bucks-plus or nearly two hours of your life you’ll never get back. ONE MARX ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Crosswalk
Cross Walk@crosswalk_com

(Reviewer Site/Bio)
  • Megan Leavey Bonds with Dog, Not So Much with Viewers
    Movies Neither the pick of the litter nor the runt, Megan Leavey, about a Marine and her dog, feels closer to a formulaic feel-good Hollywood story than its based-on-a-true-story disclaimer might indicate. While never as deeply moving as it wants to be, Leavey has a lead performance that, at moments, overcomes some of the script’s structural weaknesses. 3 out of 5.   Synopsis Troubled by past mistakes and in need of direction, 20-year-old Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) leaves her New York town to join the Marines. While cleaning the K9 unit, she bonds with bomb-sniffing dog Rex, and they undertake more than 100 missions overseas until a detonated land mine sends the injured Megan home to the United States. Her body heals, but inside, she's still wounded by the forced separation from her canine combat companion. Neither friction with her mom (Edie Falco) nor feelings for a fellow dog trainer (Ramon Rodriguez) can distract Megan from her efforts to be reunited with the dog who saved her life and the lives of many other Marines.   What Works? Mara, who Christian movie fans may recognize from her role in Captive opposite David Oyelowo, carries the film through its predictable plot beats: strained relationship with mom, Marine who toughens up under the guidance of a no-nonsense sergeant (Common), love interest of a fellow Marine, to show us how a woman who's been told she "just doesn't connect with people very well" can form a strong bond with another living creature.   What Doesn't? The pacing is off, leading to scenes that feel rushed rather than generating deep emotional impact. A bumpy final third of the film showing Megan's efforts to readjust to civilian life includes a scene showing possible PTSD, but it comes across as perfunctory rather than powerful.   googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes The film doesn't delve into faith and spirituality, but offers some lessons about family, divorce and caring for grown children. Megan, from a broken home and unable to get along with her mom and step-dad, doesn't focus on faith but finds a purpose in caring for Rex, who, she says, tried "to teach me what love is." After her combat experience is over, Megan's biological father tries to be the steadying force he couldn't be earlier in her life after he left her mother. In Iraq, Marines draw weapons on a man who has many prayer rugs and claims to be from a religious family, but their caution proves well founded when Rex uncovers a stash of weapons in the man's home.   CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers) MPAA Rating: PG-13 for war violence, language, suggestive material and thematic elements Language/Profanity: Lord's name taken in vain; the f-word, “crap,” “go-d-mn,” “s-it,” “bada-s,” “don’t get your panties in a pretzel,” a racially charged comment, “douchebag” “a-shole” “how the hell” “go to hell”. Sexuality/Nudity: A crude reference to sex; Megan is shown in bed with another Marine; Megan showers, but nothing is shown below her shoulders; kissing, falling onto a bed; Megan is shown getting out of bed from the waist up, with a top on; cleavage. Violence/Frightening/Intense: Megan remembers her friend overdosing; drinking at a bar; vomiting; public urination; dog bites a hand, breaking bones; war violence, including an episode where a man who describes himself as part of a religious family is found to be stashing guns; gun battles and bombs/explosions. Drugs/Alcohol: Megan is fired for being hung over on the job; Megan recalls drug use; a glass of wine with dinner.   The Bottom Line RECOMMENDED FOR: Dog lovers and viewers who don't demand too much from tearjerkers. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Younger audiences might not be ready for some of the war violence or brief, mostly implied sexuality. Megan Leavey, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, opens in theaters June 9, 2017. It runs 116 minutes and stars Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Common, Edie Falco and Will Patton. Watch the trailer for Megan Leavey here.   Christian Hamaker brings a background in both Religion (M.A., Reformed Theological Seminary) and Film/Popular Culture (B.A., Virginia Tech) to his reviews. He still has a collection of more than 100 laserdiscs, and for DVDs patronizes the local library. Streaming? What is this "streaming" of which you speak? He'll figure it out someday. Until then, his preferred viewing venue is a movie theater. Christian is happily married to Sarah, a parent coach and author of [email protected]/* = 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Image courtesy: ©BleeckerStreet ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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