As the film starts off we get a glimpse of what Bauman’s life was like before the Boston Marathon bombing back on April 15, 2013. He lived an average life – working at Costco and having an obnoxious, loving parents, aunts, uncles and friends whom he had around him even before the bombing. His family throughout the film were the comic relief.
We are also introduced to Bauman’s on again-off again girlfriend Erin Hurley (Tatiana Maslany) who ran in the Boston Marathon in 2013. In attempts to win Hurley back, Bauman made her a promise that he would be supporting her from the sidelines with a sign. That promise was the reason why Bauman lost both of his legs that day.
Not much of the bombing scene nor when Bauman lost his legs were shown right away, however, director David Gordon Greene did an amazing job of focusing on what exactly was important throughout the film. Facial expressions were the main point of view in the film, especially right after the bombing occurred.
Jake Gyllenhaal did a phenomenal job at portraying Bauman before and after losing his legs. The entire visual aspect of Gyllenhaal being an amputee was believable and he really withheld himself in a way that made his acting credible as well.
As the film goes deeper into the storyline of Bauman, there were many scenes that truly made me tear up because of how well Gyllenhaal’s performance was. Maslany also did an amazing job of being his leading lady. Their scenes together made you feel the pain these two people felt as they went through this tragedy.
Viewers or fans of the film Patriots Day will want to see this film. While both films are about the Boston Marathon bombing, they both tell two different aspects of it. I believe Stronger truly captured what it would have been like to be in Bauman’s shoes, whereas Patriots Day captured what it was like for Boston in general.
After watching this film my instant thought was, “Jake Gyllenhaal has that Oscar in the bag!” The aspects of Bauman’s life that Gyllenhaal portrayed on screen was perfectly done and left me in complete awe as I walked out of the movie theater. I felt so much inspiration.
Stronger is a film that shows an audience that a man who survived one of the most terrifying days in American history was capable of moving on with his life, living life to the fullest and accomplishing one of his many goals which was to walk again.
Stronger is not a film that’s lighthearted from beginning to end. It does pull at your heartstrings and it might make you sob or try to hold back tears. I highly, highly recommend this film to everyone. Especially those that don’t get squeamish at the sight of somewhat disturbing images (the bombing scene). I would rate this film with 5 stars. Here’s to hoping Gyllenhaal snags an Academy Awards nomination next year!