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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "Stronger"

There are moments in all of our lives when we remember where we were when we first heard the news, like the attack on September 11, 2001 or the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. The Boston Marathon Bombing is another example in more contemporary, and I remember where I was when I first saw it on CNN. This is also at the center of “Stronger,” the new film directed by David Gordon Green (Red Oaks, Joe) and stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Zodiac), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, The Vow), Miranda Richardson (The Hours, Sleepy Hollow), Lenny Clarke (Sirens, Ted 2), and Clancy Brown (Starship Troopers, The Shawshank Redemption).

It is the true story of Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal), who lost both his legs as part of the events of that day as a spectator. After deciding he will do everything he can to live as much of a normal life as possible, he goes on a journey that will take everything he has both physically and mentally to achieve his goals, along with the support of his girlfriend (Maslany), parents (Richardson and Brown), family, and friends.

The filming took place all around the city of Boston and shows it well with outside shots on cloudy days which I think tried to enhance the mood. The problem for me with this was the tragedy took place on a sunny day, so with that historical incorrectness, it may have been overdone a little. The CGI was very good, as there was a lot used to show Gyllenhaal with his legs gone. When it comes to the acting, the 3 leads do incredible. Maslany as Erin plays the part well of wanting to be there for Jeff, but sometimes gets overwhelmed and somewhat responsible, as the reason he was at the finish line to begin with was to support her as a participant. Richardson does wonderful as her mother who loves her son but is not diligent enough to keep him on his regiments required. This all leads to Gyllenhaal, who does an incredible job here, especially in the physical aspect of the role, showing the pain, self-destructive behavior, and self-pity very well.

The film is gritty and pulls no punches, and while it does not glorify the violence, it does recognize what happened realistically. There are a few scenes that show how hard everyday functions can be in the aftermath of what happened to Bauman on multiple fronts, down to even the restroom. This film is graphic and not for the kids, also featuring some brief nudity. I will recommend this film as a twilight showing in theaters.

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