To describe the film Stronger’s protagonist as heroic would come short of honouring Jeff Bauman – a man who lost both his legs during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and became a symbol of hope for the city. The inspiring, poignant biography drama digs deep into Bauman’s unreported post-traumatic life and love struggles.
Based on Bauman’s biography of the same name, co-written by Bret Witter, Stronger mainly focuses on the aftermath of Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal)’s injury. The 27-year-old warehouse worker went to the Boston Marathon to cheer on the runners and make up with his ex-girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany), when the attack took place.
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Gyllenhaal’s natural acting captures the psychological turmoil of those suffering from post-traumatic stress. Combined with the equally convincing acting of Maslany and Miranda Richardson (who plays Bauman’s alcoholic mother), the movie perfectly portrays the often overlooked challenges and mental stress faced by caregivers, such as Bauman’s mother and ex-girlfriend.
Given the seriousness and emotional weight of the film’s theme, the biopic is presented in an appropriate manner – nothing too melodramatic – showing deference to the real-life story it’s based on.
Emotional, meaningful, and thought-provoking, Stronger will encourage you to think about how public support and positive discourse impacts survivors going through physical and mental rehabilitation – particularly in the digital age.
Grab some popcorn and tissues, and watch Stronger to pay tribute and gain a better understanding of those who have been through a traumatic experience, as well as their caretakers.
Edited by Nicole Moraleda