Stronger (2017)


“I’m a hero for just standing there and getting my legs blown off?” – Jeff Bauman

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Dec 2017)

Brief Synopsis – After having his legs amputated following the Boston marathon bombing, a young man tries to find a way to put his life back together.

My Take on it – When I hear about this film, I was quite excited to see what they would do with it since I’m a big fan of Patriots Day (2016) which depicted the actual events of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

This film tells us the story of one man injured during that events and shows how he struggled to rehabilitate his life after having lost his legs to that attack.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives a great performance here and I will be a bit surprised if he isn’t nominated for numerous awards for this depiction; he might not win, but the nominations should still come his way.

We are able to really understand the emotional roller coaster ride of this man as we see him go through the ups and downs while trying to come to grips with his new way of life.

We get the emotional aspects of the story and see how much strength one man can have when faced with these kind of choices in life

They do an excellent job showing us certain news events of the manhunt for the perpetrators as clear references to over what time period these events all take place and they wisely stay focused on the story of Bauman instead of showing us what is going on in the larger circle of events.

The special effects are superb here because there are so many scenes which I was wowed into believing that Gyllenhaal really didn’t have any legs.

Bottom Line – Gyllenhaal gives an amazing performance here as we get to really feel the emotional roller-coaster that he must traverse as he tries to find a stable way to live his life.  This is a really emotional film because it shows us how much strength one man can have yet also give to other just by the way he chooses to find rehabilitation.  This is a great film to watch as a companion piece to Patriots Day (2016) since this film shows us an individual part of the overall story as it plays out. Showing the viewer tidbits of information from the news pertaining to the manhunt for the terrorists helps us to keep points of reference of how the events relate to this story. I’m not sure if Gyllenhaal can snatch an Oscar win with this performance, but it definitely deserves a nomination. The special effects are superb because we truly believe that he has no legs. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Jeff Bauman’s former supervisor at Costco, Kevin, auditioned to play himself in the movie. Although he was not chosen for the part he is an extra in more than one scene. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy

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9 thoughts on “Stronger (2017)

  1. I thought Patriots Day was excellent (and criminally underseen) so I was really looking forward to this one, but was disappointed. For whatever reason, it just never had the emotional impact that I was expecting. I found Bauman’s family – warts and all – to be very off putting and maybe that took away some of what I should have been feeling. Gyllenhaal was very good – and got better as the film went on – but if the Academy ignored him for a far better performance in NIGHTCRAWLER – I doubt very much he’ll grab a nomination for this. Also, Tatiana Maslany – who you didn’t even mention in your review – playing his on again off again girlfriend – and the reason he was even AT the marathon finish line to begin with – was even better than Jake IMO.

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    • I was also surprised it wasnt even more powerful and that also disappointed me a bit. regarding the performances of JG and TM, I liked his performance much better here than in Nightcrawler and as we know, the academy likes these kind of roles better also. I thought TM was pretty good here, but he outshines her IMHO. The family played crazy, but it actually made them feel more real. I’m a big fan of Lenny Clarke, so I loved seeing him here

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      • the actors who portrayed his family were all very good – and very Boston. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was – most of them – including his mother a lot of the time – were alcoholic jerks. I’m sure maybe that’s how they were for real – but it didn’t make them easy to watch. Jake was very good. It’s a tough role to play. His scene when he’s locked out of the building and full of rage and beating on the doors was great. He’s a very good actor. But for me – he had things to hide behind in this real life part – whereas in Nightcrawler – he simply disappeared into the role. His voice and complete physicality were altered. I was shocked when he was not nominated. If he’s not nominated for Stronger, I won’t be.

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          • That is true. Ask Amy Adams about 2016. Although, if you believe the pundits (and I don’t much of the time) – they have Gary Oldman as Churchill in DARKEST HOUR as a runaway lock to WIN Best Actor.

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            • havent seen it…yet, but I still remember that at the beginning of 2016, they were saying Birth of a Nation would win BP, so its fun to read, but until the real heavy hitters start showing their nominees, its anyone’s game

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              • I haven’t either. Or THE POST – where Meryl’s getting hyped up for another Oscar., As for Birth of A Nation – that was supposed to ride the #OscarsSoWhite thing into a mess of nominations – until the old rape charges came out about it’s writer/director. Then it was toast. I saw it – it wasn’t very good and probably didn’t deserve the buzz it had anyway.

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  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 2017 | MovieRob

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