Movie Review: Stronger

09 Oct 2017 / 15:36 H.

    THIS MOVIE is based on the true story of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the 2013 Boston ­Marathon bombings.

    Unlike most stories of this genre – which often depict the protagonist's 'heroic' journey after surviving a tragedy as a sugar-coated, ­inspirational one – Stronger instead shows us all his flaws and weaknesses on his road to recovery.
    The story begins by showing us Jeff (­Gyllenhaal) as a somewhat irresponsible, but lovable young man working in a wholesale store.
    He creates a huge mess at work and leaves it all for a co-worker to deal with because he needs to watch a baseball game.
    While at a bar with some friends, relatives, and his drunk mother Patty (Richardson), Jeff spots his on-and-off-again girlfriend Erin (Maslany) collecting donations to ­support her run for charity at the Boston Marathon.
    Jeff promises to be there to support her too (they split up because she says he was never there for her), and waits for Erin by the finish line, holding a placard.
    As fate would have it, Jeff is among the hundreds of people injured when the bombs go off.
    Although he loses both his legs, the first thing Jeff does when he regains consciousness in the hospital is communicate to his friend that he saw one of the two bombers.
    He then helps the FBI sketch a profile picture that eventually leads to the bombers' respective killing and capture.
    As a result, Jeff becomes a hero, and a source of inspiration to others.
    While his mother basks in the limelight of his celebrity status, Jeff struggles with his ­disability, and people's expectations of him. He reaches out to Erin, and their relationship is rekindled.
    However, as things prove to be too ­overwhelming, Jeff returns to his irresponsible ways, and constantly berates Patty. Meanwhile, Erin leaves Jeff when she discovers that she is pregnant.

    How Jeff eventually decides to pull himself together and embrace his new life makes up the rest of the movie.
    The story is inspirational, but predictable. It is the talented actors who carry it to another level with their outstanding performances.
    Essentially, the movie is another look at what really makes a hero.

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