The movie Stronger tells the story of a man, Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal), who lost both his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. A drama which is not like the rest of those movies based on emotional real-life stories. The movie doesn’t try to sweeten the situation, but to present a life that has been affected by it.
It follows the aftermath of the tragic event, as Boston recovers from it and begins a manhunt for the ones who did it. At the same time, Bauman fights a battle of his own. Having the dressing removed for the first time, he sees his amputated legs. His girlfriend, Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany), is there by his side, even if they were not together at the time of the tragedy.
Emotional and raw
David Gordon Green, the director, will use those intimate moments between Jeff and Erin throughout the entire movie. He also frequently uses focus to underline Jeff’s personal battle in the context of a city that needs him to be their symbol of survival and courage. Stronger is not much about the Boston Marathon bombing but about its aftermath. It tried to understand Jeff’s perspective of having to fight with this burden of being the town’s hero.
It’s interesting that the very first part of the movie focuses on how much of an ordinary guy Jeff was before the tragedy. He was living with his mother who liked to drink, going out with his friends, and breaking up and getting back together with Erin. Also, during the day, he worked at Costco. In her turn, Erin was getting ready to participate in her first ever Boston Marathon.
The movie also shows how Jeff managed to remember the face of perpetrator Tamerlan Tsamaev, in the hospital, after he wakes up. He offers an accurate description of him to the FBI who manage to track him down. Both Gyllenhaal and Maslany are very good in their roles and most importantly, believable. All in all, Stronger is an accessible movie and maybe this is what makes it so emotional and inspiring.
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