I absolutely loved this movie. I think this is one the best movies I have seen this year. This is not a movie about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. This movie does not glorify war. This movie shows how [a dog] can bring out the love and compassion in someone who had removed herself from human interaction ever since her best friend died. Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) has lost all reason to stay in her hometown so she decides to join the USMC. She trains hard and many believe that she will not make it to graduation. She obviously does and goes out to celebrate her Marine status with a couple girl friends. She is caught peeing behind a building so she is punished by the Master Sergeant (Corey Johnson) and now cleans up the dog kennels at a training facility under Gunny Martin (Common).
When she is there, Gunny orders her to get out and get dressed to train with the dogs. However it is not the training she had in mind. Leavey later asks Gunny what it would take to be a dog handler, and we see her push through so marksmanship and PT tests. After an unfortunate event with another soldier, Leavey is able to get a dog, but it is not the dog that she wanted. They are only given a few weeks before she and Rex are shipped to Iraq where they potentially save the saves of hundreds of citizens and soldiers.
Once they are at the base, Leavey meets another dog handler named Matt Morales (Ramon Rodriguez). They bond over time and later have a loose relationship. He and Leavey have to decide one day who will be going out into the field, Leavey is chosen by someone else. As shown in the trailer, Megan, Rex, and a couple other soldiers are in the middle of nowhere with a building in the distance and many small flags in the ground. These small flags are IED (Improvised Explosive Device) locations. Rex is the reason some of these soldiers lived to see the end of the day sniffing those out.
Something happens to Leavey and is forced to go home and seek medical attention. Her father, Bob (Bradley Whitford), brings Leavey to her home to her mother, Jackie, (Edie Falco). Megan is depressed throughout her three weeks absence and is only thinking about what is happening to Rex who needed to stay behind. Rex will continue to be in commission even though he is having trouble moving and has developed a form of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Morales has told Megan that he will not be retiring for another four years and she is upset that he did not tell her.
In the end, Megan lived her life as happy as she had ever been. Rex died in December 2012 at the age of 13.
9.0/10, A, 5/5 GM