Stronger

Drama,Biography

Always trying to crawl inside himself, Jake Gyllenhaal has become the most fascinating leading man in movies Discuss this article

2017_Stronger
© ITP Images

Always trying to crawl inside himself, Jake Gyllenhaal has become the most fascinating leading man in movies. This is partly due to his choice of roles: He was the unlikely “eagle scout” investigator of Zodiac and an unhinged neo-Travis Bickle in Nightcrawler. Now, Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, the Bostonian who lost his legs in the 2013 marathon bombing and became an unlikely symbol of citywide resilience in the aftermath.

In its shrewd script by John Pollono (based on Bauman’s memoir), Stronger never lets you forget the reticence of its hero – the “chicken roaster from Costco,” as he’s called by an acquaintance – who is the first to question his newfound status. Wheeled out like a piece of meat on hockey rinks to cheering crowds, Gyllenhaal’s Bauman is in a constant cringe. This isn’t the sugar-coated, positive movie many will want, but it’s something better: a window into post-traumatic stress and exploded identity.

Bauman’s addicted mother (Miranda Richardson) and on-again-off-again girlfriend (Tatiana Maslany) are buffeted by the storm of celebrity, but the film is Gyllenhaal’s, as he transitions from a death wish to something approaching civic generosity. It’s a weird and unusually honest film. Recommended.

The bottom line
Yet another barnstormer from Gyllenhaal.

By Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out Bahrain,

Stronger

  • Duration: 116
  • Released: Thu, 21 Sep
  • Language: English
  • Director: David Gordon Green
  • Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson

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