DVD Review: Stronger
Stronger isn’t the first film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, in 2016 Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg delivered the action focused film Patriots Day which followed the hunt for the bombers in the days after the attack. Stronger takes a narrower, more personal focus on the event, taking a close look at how the day effected two people in particular, Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany).
Bauman was in an on and off relationship with Hurley, currently in the off stage, but in an effort to get back to the on status, decides to watch her finish her first Boston Marathon, placing him right next to one of the bombs.
The bombs go off as Hurley is on the home straight, but because of the bombs, she doesn’t make it to the finish line, instead takes refuge in a local bar so she can phone her family. Whilst on the phone she sees an image of a badly injured Bauman and makes her way to the hospital.
Stronger follows Bauman as he is labeled a hero and struggles with what than means and with his recovery. Hurley stats by his side, though through the emotional ups and downs is pushed away from time to time.
Stronger is a fairly basic story with lots of supporting cast. What makes it a great film is the performances of Gyllenhaal and Maslany who bring into sharp focus the emotional price paid by survivors of traumatic events. At times it’s not an easy watch, the pain feels so real, and the decisions made at times make you want to scream at the TV, but in the end, the right people seem to connect with each other making many people stronger for the experience.
A bloody good story of courage and overcoming, and possibly one of Gyllenhaal’s best performances.
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language, sex scenes and content that may offend.