Stronger – Movie Review – Inspiring True Story.

This film is based on the inspiring true story of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) , an ordinary man who became a symbol of hope, after losing both of his legs during the 2013 Marathon bombings in Boston.

The main focus of this film is on how this tragic event affected the life of Jeff and the people around him. One thing the script did particularly well in comparison to most films of this nature, is highlighting the strain a life changing injury will have not only on the victim, but those closest to him as well.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is an understated one, he portrays Jeff with a suitable level of vulnerability, going from a likeable ordinary man in the beginning to then having to deal with such a life changing injury. Gyllenhaal conveys so much through facial expressions and raw emotion it’s rather impressive, the best credit I can give is that his performance felt very natural and real. Tatiana Maslany plays Jeff’s girlfriend Erin, she also gave a very understated performance. It’s through her performance that we get to see how this event has changed her life too, she is both emotionally and physically drained due to the pressures of having to be there to look after Jeff. The rest of the cast includes Miranda Richardson as Jeff’s mother Patty and Clancy Brown as his father Jeff Bauman Sr. They were also good in the handful of moments they were given to leave an impression.

David Gordon Green directed this film and I have mixed thoughts on the outcome of his directorial choices. For the most part the film was shot well and didn’t have any glaring faults in terms of the cinematography, or other choices in that regard. My issues lie with how he chose to helm a couple different scenes. One of them being the bombing scene itself. Like I said before I know the focus of this film wasn’t on the bombing, but I still think the scene could’ve been depicted in a better way that could’ve made it a little more horrifying to witness. Another scene that I have a little issue with is a flashback sequence we get showcasing the moments after the bomb went off. The camera moves to a position where it showcases Jeff with his legs blown off, and the grotesque nature of what was shown felt a little unnecessary.

This film really made me appreciate something that myself and many others take for granted. Our mobility and ability to walk. I found certain aspects to be massively inspiring especially when we get to see how Jeff’s inner strength has translated and inspired others in the city of Boston.

It’s sometimes difficult to critique certain aspects of films that are based on true events because to a large degree they are following real events, and to be honest the everyday occurrences in people’s lives aren’t always that interesting. So it’s difficult to translate those moments into something that is more interesting to watch on screen, I found scenes towards the middle of the film to be a little dull, the pace slowed down and overall the film became less interesting during those moments.

Overall Stronger is an inspiring story of a man’s journey to overcome the obstacles he is faced with after a life changing injury. The direction isn’t always competent and the pace suffers a little, but the performances are strong and the film will leave you feeling inspired.


(3 Stars Out of 5)


StrongerStarring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown.

Directed by David Gordon Green.

Now showing in UK and US Cinemas.

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