Stronger : Film Review


Kelsey Corwen

Stronger, directed by David Gordon Green, tells a story of bravery and strength, based upon Jeff Bauman’s memoir about losing his legs due to the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. Released in September 2017, the story has captured the hearts of many Americans. Jake Gyllenhaal’s role provides a profound message of the trauma and hardships that Bauman endured, without sugar-coating any aspect of his experience.

The film begins in a bar, portraying Bauman’s love of Boston and passion for his job working at the deli at Costco. Jeff tries to regain his girlfriend’s love by planning to wait at the finish line of the marathon with a big sign. Seconds into this scene, Bauman makes eye contact with the bomber and then is thrown back into a smokey haze after the pressure cooker explodes. This scene is tear-jerking as it is switched to the girlfriend’s perspective of the bombing. Tracing the scenes by which Bauman’s family hears the news and rush to the hospital breaks the viewer’s heart.

The film covers Bauman’s brutal recovery as he falls out of beds, turns to alcohol abuse and suffers from various arguments with family members and friends. Bauman also travels to various sports games and the film captures the struggles that these times bring, rather than the intended amusement and support.

Bauman’s story is a true inspiration and teaches resilience and perseverance. Although the story leaves a sickening feeling in your stomach, it overall engages you to feel sympathy for not only Bauman but veterans and other citizens who suffer the same consequences as a result o0f trauma and injury.

The film focuses on desolate times while still maintaining the viewer’s attention. The actors were able to get into character and truly resemble the nature of people in Boston, via their blunt language and attitude towards situations. The filming was excellent in capturing the struggles of Bauman, especially in the scene by which the bandages are torn from his thighs. The camera is placed above Bauman’s head and gives a clear message of how painful and traumatic this event was.

Stronger is a raw and emotional film that deserves to be watched by every American in order to feel connected to one another.