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

  • Chef Jennifer Johnson on How to Cook a Presidential Meal This Weekend (Recipes)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Chef Jennifer Johnson of Hip Chicks Farms you could say knows food. Her current gig as head chef for Ann and Gordon Getty, calls for her to craft exquisite meals for celebrities, public figures and most recently, President Barack Obama.

     
  • Daniel Day-Lewis to Return To Present On Oscar® Sunday

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis will return to present at this year’s Oscars®, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.   

     
  • Academy Determines Producing Credits For

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has determined the individual nominees for “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the Best Picture category for the Oscars®.  They are producers Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

     
  • Romney Edges Closer - The Road to the White House - Election 2012 - Week 20

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican Presidential nominee, continued rolling through the last of the GOP primaries now that his chief challenger, Rick Santorum, has suspended his campaign.

     
  • China Movie Channel Announces “Transformers 4” Chinese Actor Talent Search with Hollywood Heavyweight Judges

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Beijing, China (April 18, 2013) – During the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival, China Movie Channel and its movie internet site, m1905, announced the kickoff of the “’Transformers 4’ Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show.”

Crime

  • 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.

     
  • McDonald’s Worker Sells Heroin in Happy Meals

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Pittsburgh McDonald’s fast food employee was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics for distribution as she reportedly sold heroin in Happy Meals to pre-arranged buyers through the drive through window.

     
  • 18 Penn State “Brothers” Arrested in Fraternity Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Eighteen Beta Theta Pi Alpha Upsilon Fraternity brothers at Penn State University, still synonymous with pedophile cover up of football Coach Jerry Sandusky, have been arrested in the shocking hazing death of Timothy Piazza, a freshman pledge, during the annual Rush Week.

     
  • 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.

     
  • James Bulger Appeal Deadline Nears

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Bulger, the notorious Boston mobster convicted in what has been called a sham proceeding, is fighting for the chance at a new trial to present evidence of alleged deals he had with members of the Massachusetts State law enforcement.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Hollywood Celebrates The 100th Anniversary of Tinseltown’s First Ever Feature Film

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    (HOLLYWOOD, CA., MEDIA ALERT)--- Colossal. Stupendous. Epic. These Hollywood adjectives became clichés long ago. When used to describe the films of Cecil B. DeMille, they are accurate. This producer-director captured a worldwide audience with The King of KingsThe Sign of the Cross, The Greatest Show on Earth; Samson and Delilah, and The Ten Commandments. 

     
  • Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette Review – Surprisingly Interesting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Penned by renowned Civil Rights attorney David M. Weitzman, Living A Life That Matters will not jump off the shelf for the causal bookstore window shopper. The title, the image all suggest an intellectual read reserved for professors, scholars, politicians and the like.  

  • Coffee Table Art For the Intellectually Promiscuous

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Coffee Table Art, considered the staple for the difficult on our Christmas list, has changed over the years and with the internet bookstore finding that perfect tome, a keepsake, a DIY guide, the best images of seven continents has never been easier.

     
  • Joshua Tree Spring Music Festival - A Global Experience in the Magical Mojave

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Merging its funky desert style with an internationally acclaimed lineup of musical artists, this three day (and four night) family-friendly festival is truly a global music experience. The 13th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers.

     
  • The Art Of Discovery - Photographs By WireImage Co-Founder Jeff Vespa

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, Ca. USA -  Jeff Vespa, co-founder of the largest entertainment photo agency in the world, WireImage and founder of Verge, will release his first monograph, The Art of Discovery, this October on Rizzoli International Publications.