Kate Mara delivers one of the best performances of her career in the title role.
The Film Stage
The film celebrates warriors of all species, providing a subtle pro-military message that’s free from the rousing pomp one comes to expect from the genre.
Mara delivers the movie’s emotional punches like a prize-fighter, utterly selling us on the notion that this cold, remote and guarded member of the working class walking wounded has found her true love in the one guy who needs her, sticks with her and saves her life.
San Francisco Chronicle
One-half of an unremarkable war movie, followed by a touching story about the importance of animals in people’s lives. Fortunately, the stronger part is saved for last.
The Hollywood Reporter
Bringing their real-life story to the screen, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite has made a movie about soldiers that's not, strictly speaking, a war film. She's made a love story, one that's all the more heartstring-tugging for its cogent restraint.
Often too clunky for its own good, and (ahem) doggedly apolitical throughout, this earnest feel-good tale nonetheless manages to pull on the heartstrings with sufficient gentleness.
Unless you’re coming to the material with the experience of, say, Steven Spielberg, “violent war biopic” and “inspirational animal drama” are a tricky combo. So while it’s perhaps no surprise that director Gabriela Cowperthwaite struggles to weave these disparate threads together in Megan Leavey, she ultimately does her heroes — both of them — proud.
A true story so pure that it almost grants its teller the permission to be sloppy, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Megan Leavey is a bit of a mess from the moment it starts, but it’s hard to completely dismiss any movie with a soul this strong, just as it would be hard to dismiss a disobedient puppy so long as its tail keeps wagging.
This is a film that can’t decide if it wants to be a war movie or a rescue dog melodrama and therefore falls into cinematic no-man’s/woman’s-land.
Everyone here, from fellow marines to Iraqis, is merely a supporting player in Megan Leavey's emotional journey.