Stronger Movie Review
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers a fine performance in Stronger, a good but not great biopic about Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs in the Boston Marathon attack. Told with earnestness, Stronger depicts Bauman’s challenging recovery (both physically and psychologically) and the dynamics of his boisterous family.
Well, sort of
Gyllenhaal is good in the lead, but the movie itself fails to give him the room or opportunity to really flex his acting muscles, at least for prolonged periods of time. He has some great scenes, but, just like the movie itself, there is surprisingly little to really sink your teeth into.
While the first half is quite good, Stronger loses focus in the second, unsure of what it really wants to nail. In the process, it ends up being mediocre at everything. What probably would have been most interesting would have been an emphasis on his physical rehab, or psychological evolution, but instead director David Gordon Green only takes a surface level look at these things and instead emphasizes the fairly generic relationship between Bauman and his girlfriend (Tatiana Maslany).
The end result is a fairly plain movie that could have been a lot better. Gyllenhaal might get an Oscar nomination for his role, but he's delivered better, more powerful performances elsewhere. He, like the movie overall, fall victim to a lack of purpose. A shame, given the subject matter.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.