STRONGER features a different side to the Boston Marathon bombing than was featured in the film Patriot’s Day. Instead of the event and the hunting of the bombers, we have the inspiring story of Jeff Bauman, a man that was right by one of the bombs, ended up losing both of his legs in the blast. Here, he is portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaul in another powerful performance that begs the question, “why in the hell hasn’t Gyllenhaul won an Oscar yet?” HE is honestly going to be the new Leo DiCaprio in about 10 to 15 years, where he’ll end up winning one for a performance that is still strong, but less than his previous work.
The movie itself is very decent, although for me there was a little something missing, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe it is the fact that I didn’t like Jeff Bauman for most of the film, considering him very lazy and too privileged, and only after losing almost everything other than his legs he starts to get his ass into gear. I thought that the story of his ex girlfriend Erin, played fantastically by Tatiana Maslany, was the more inspiring story, on how long she had to put up with his ass acting the way he was. Maybe I was a little bored throughout the movie, and it was just that the story didn’t uplift me as it was probably supposed to.
So although it is a good movie, very good in fact, I wish it was more. But if it was, I have a feeling the movie wouldn’t be as real, as I’m told that the real Jeff Bauman saw the movie and said it was pretty damn accurate. I am glad that the real Bauman turned his life together after being involved in that terrible tragedy. Just wanting to live the next day after that takes courage in and of itself. I don’t think that anything missing was any of the screenplay or direction by David Gordon Green’s fault, I just think it would make a more interesting hour documentary than a 2 hour character study.
But it is like I’m saying the movie is bad, which I’m not. Most of you will find that missing something in it and love the heck out of this film. Everything about the movie is top notch. I would probably revisit this on Netflix but it isn’t something I would buy or something I would watch over and over again. I honestly think that out of the two Boston Marathon bombing films, that Patriot’s Day is still the more harrowing of the two. It’s the performances here that does take the movie out of mediocrity, as Jake Gyllenhaul can basically spit on anything and make it about 20% better.