Stronger Review - Inspirational, Emotional, A Solid Bio-Pic

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Stronger, from Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, presents the story of Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the aftermath of his recovery, challenges, hopes, his family, and how he went from ordinary to extraordinary.

Directed by David Gordon Green, Stronger stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Miranda Richardson, Tatiana Maslany, Richard Lane Jr., Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, Patty O'Neil, Kate Fitzgerald, Danny McCarthy and Carlos Sanz. Stronger was written by Jeff Pollono based on the book of the same name written by Jeff Bauman.

Stronger opens at Costco, where Jeff, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is being humorously reprimanded by his supervisor, Kevin, played by Danny McCarthy, and it is obvious he has a good relationship at his job. Heading over to the Pub, he meets up with his family and friends when his former girlfriend, Erin, played by Tatiana Maslany comes in with her sister, Gail, played by Frankie Shaw.


The Only Living Boy In New York Review – Unexpected, Surprising, A Solid Bet

She is collecting money for the 117th annual Boston Marathon. Of course, as Jeff is still in love with her, they broken up six times before, okay so maybe three, and they always get back together, he decides to take over and announces what she needs and soon the patrons (all his family or extended family or friends of his family; it's a family bar) fill the jar and she is one her way with him following as he is hoping to score at least a dinner.

She told him, the reason we broke up is that "You're never there." You say you'll be there and you don't show. So he decides tomorrow, at the finish line, he is going to make this huge sign, with 3-D letters, in neon orange, and this time he be there.

His mother, Patty, played by an unrecognizable Miranda Richardson,  explains he should just be done with that girl.

So off he goes and as he positions himself near the finish line, he is jostled by a stranger in sunglasses, who walks in front of him, and the audience just sees the backpack, and then as Jeff turns, to look at him, an image that will soon be seen around the world.

Within seconds chaos strikes, Erin who is nearing the finish line sees the explosions and makes it to safety. She is watching the news when a flash of Jeff is shown.

What follows is what most survivors experienced. The shrapnel bombs, filled with nails, screws and bb's torn through the flesh of the bystanders obliterating limbs with an intensity usually reserved for war. Today, Bostonians and the world, found out the United States was at war and we just didn't know it.

Stronger doesn't hold back at this stage, as Jeff has lost both legs, a double amputee, his family, a middle class, family, that loves the Red Sox, drinks a little too much, has very few coping skills, and no crisis management experience. Life was pretty steady, even before the Marathon for them, ups and downs, the struggles of the middle class.

On that day it all changed. His family, all of them, showed up at the hospital. The room was an eruption of panic, uncertainty, shock, as they all crowded into the family space provided by the hospital. Jeff's supervisor from Costco showed up with a basket of food and paperwork.

Jeff's father, played by Clancy Brown, known as Big Jeff, with a booming, amplified, voice was trying to figure out the future, when Kevin walks in to the barrage of who will hire him with no legs? Is Costco going to re-hire Jeff?"

Jeff finally wakes up and is sitting with Sully, played by Nate Richman, when he asks for a pen and writes "I saw the Bomber." From that point on he is heralded by newspapers and media, as a hero. He becomes the symbol of Boston Strong. The strong part somehow eluded him, for a season, and the trauma was taking its toll.

Six weeks later he is released from the hospital and the real challenges of life, and the intimacies of daily living as an amputee become in your face real. The next scenes are filled with grueling challenges that Jeff and his family face as he attempts to adjust to the new normal.  

Stronger is an emotional film. It is an uplifting true story of one man, among many, who faces, and really in those situation you have one two choices, the obstacle head on. Bauman decides to face the rehab part of the process. The emotional part, as it was left over from his pre-amputee days is now magnified and a little more difficult to face.


Boston Bomber Sentencing: Hank Brennan, Boston Legal Scholar, Explains the Death Penalty Phase

Dr. Jeffrey Kalish from the hospital was cast to present an authenticity which adds to the scope of the damage.

I walked away thinking Jake Gyllenhaal is an incredibly talented actor. Sometimes I don't think he gets his due, and this performance is a solid as they come. Bauman jokes about Lt. Dan when he first wakes. Gyllenhaal handles the challenges of the role solidly. Obviously, he is not an amputee and there are no hiccups in the performance to show any type of leaning on lower body strength. He did really well.

Miranda Richardson is unrecognizable as the chain smoking, drinking, nearly suicidal, Patty Bauman. She doesn't lose her Bostonian accent and she made the physical adjustments to capture the woman who really was instrumental in keeping the world going.

Everyone was there, the entire family, and Costco, I walked away with a newfound respect for the retail consumer giant who did the right thing, stayed with the employee, had a family mental health plan in place and had it ready to go within hours of the news.

Stronger is one of those films that could be dismissed as just another tragedy to triumph story and it is so much more than as the film layers the past relationships with Erin that remained.

This was someone, and I've heard other survivors talk, about the city being there for them, who was held up by the people around him until he could stand on two legs again.

Stronger opens in theaters September 22, 2017. It is a must see. Genuine, human, real, triumphant.

 

Haute Tease

  • Celebrity Interview: A Conversation with Belle Writer Misan Sagay

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Misan Sagay, recently participating in press interviews, brings an exceptionally engaging story of an interracial love affair, scandal, passion and courage to the screen as author of the screenplay for the box office beauty "Belle" from Fox Searchlight Films.

     
  • Sony Pictures Animation Unveils Upcoming 2017-2018 Slate: Expect the Fun, Familiar and Instant Family Classics

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Making good on the commitment to increase overall output while continuing to offer its distinctive mix of family films, Sony Pictures Animation today released the project details on its upcoming roster of titles through 2018.

     
  • The Pulitzer at 100 Review – Captivating, Informative, Pulitzer’s Most Memorable Moments

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Pulitzer at 100, from First Run Features, presents the story of the Pulitzer Prize, with historical accounts from Joseph Pulitzer's humble beginnings and the prestigious honor his award has become weaving throughout stories from scholars and winners.

     
  • The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble Review – Bravo, Magnifique, A Masterpiece

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, from The Orchard and Participant Media, debuted at the Los Angeles Film Festival, to rave reviews of the power of music, in all its forms, to bridge cultural differences and divides.

     
  • Three Beauty Boosting Supplements That Turn Back the Clock

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    People are buzzing about beauty supplements these days. More people are taking vitamins, drinking shakes, doing detoxes all to improve vitality. People are aware of peptides, parabens, proteins, and probiotics; terms that were unknown a decade ago.

Crime

  • Nine Dead, 17 Injured; 192 Arrested in Waco Biker Brawl

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Nine gang members shot and killed each other in a Wild West gangland shoot out at the Twin Peaks Bar and Grill in Waco, Texas, in what has been described as the worst crimes in almost 35 years of law enforcement.

     
  • Organized Crime Boss James “Whitey” Bulger Convicted

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James “Whitey” Bulger, the organized crime boss who fled Boston and lived 16 years as a fugitive, was convicted of murder, extortion, money laundering, drug dealing and gun possession.

     
  • Five Dallas Police Officers Dead; Seven Others Injured in Peace March Ambush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Five Dallas Police Officers have died and seven others injured in an ambush as a protest over the recurring use of excessive and deadly force against unarmed African Americans turned violent leaving a city and nation stunned.

     
  • Three Women Missing a Decade Found Alive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, three Cleveland, Ohio, women, who had been missing for over a decade, were found alive held captive together, after a stunning escape.

     
  • No Indictment in Ferguson Case; Violence Hits More Than 90 Cities

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Missouri Grand Jury refused to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African American teen shot and killed in broad daylight, while walking in the street near his home, last August.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.

     
  • Judi Dench's Exits & Entrances: A Celebration Of Shakespeare

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Shakespearean celebration, with readings by Dame Judi Dench, David Suchet, Emilia Fox and the late Jeffery Dench. Exits and Entrances commemorates the 400th anniversary on April 23rd 2017 of the death of the world's most celebrated playwright William Shakespeare.

     
  • The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston - A Page Turning Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Sword & Scabbard, from Allen Woods, looks as if it would appeal to Boston’s very tony elite, not until pushing through the labyrinth of technology interruptions does one realizes Woods has created a page turning account of corruption, violence, and a bloody re-revolution massacre.

     
  • HL Artist Interview: Joshua Haupt, the Steve Jobs of Marijuana, Talks Epilepsy, The Cost of Weed Knowledge and The Burning Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    While the debate rages over medicinal marijuana in conservative states, one young man in Colorado is moving forward, with a mission. Undeterred by the challenges Joshua Haupt has partnered with several major consumer goods giants to introduce cannabis as an alternative treatment.   

     
  • HL A&E Presents The Best Summer 2016 Music Festivals, by the Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Every year, thousands of people flock to church. The devotees pray in flower crowns and straw hats, fringe-laden vests and neon body paint. They are the congregation of music lovers, gathering from many different corners of the world to worship at the summer’s many music festivals.