We’ve all heard the saying: when God closes a door, he always opens a window. Maybe it sounds a bit cliché but in the case of Megan Leavey, the title character of the new film of the same name, it holds true.
Megan Leavey stars Kate Mara as the Marine whose life was saved by her bomb-sniffing dog, Rex. But she’s not a war hero at the beginning of the film. Mourning the death of her best friend by drug overdose, she suffering from survivor’s guilt and can’t-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning depression. She can’t keep a job and she’s disgusted with her life. Her disapproving mother (Edie Falco) yells at her to get her life together. People just aren’t Megan’s strongpoint. On a whim, she signs up for the Marines but she finds as much trouble there as she did at home.
On a punishment detail, she’s assigned to pooper-scooper duty, cleaning up after the dogs of the K-9 unit. There she meets Rex, the most aggressive dog in the unit. While observing training, she feels like she might fit in as a handler. Asking Gunnery Sergeant Martin (Common) what she needs to do to qualify for the unit, she sets to work meeting all the requirements. An inspiring but realistic speech by a Marine handler who’s been in Iraq (Harry Potter’s Tom Felton), cements her desire and she makes it in. When Rex breaks his handler’s arm in six places with one bite, Megan’s assigned as Rex’s new handler. She’s terrified of him at first but a bond develops between them that surpasses any of Megan’s human interactions.
Deployed to Iraq, Megan and Rex do wonderful work finding IED’s. The tension in the movie is such that you just know they’re going to miss one. Wounded, Megan heads home where PTSD sets in and she’s once again in a bad space. She becomes obsessed with the fight to be able to adopt Rex.
As a film, Megan Leavey doesn’t break any new ground. We’ve seen Marine-befriends-warrior-dog before but never with a female character. When you realize that the movie is based on a true story, Megan’s fight to be reunited with Rex is moving and the film definitely tugs at the heart strings.
What I appreciated about Megan’s story was how loving Rex enabled her to get through her suffering. She wasn’t a people person. That door was closed. But there was a window for Megan in the form of Rex and her work with the K-9 unit. Megan realized that she needed to do something with her life, had the courage to go looking for her purpose, found it with the K-9 unit, and did what she had to do to achieve her purpose. Then after serving her country, she fought to be reunited with Rex upon his ‘retirement.’
Perhaps you can understand what Megan went through. Perhaps some doors have closed in your life. They might not be as dramatic as Megan’s were, but we all have closed doors in our lives, things that happen or decisions made that render some paths impossible for us to follow. Yes, discouraging it can be. But look around because God always provides an open window. We just need to find it.