Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2017: Stronger Review

Keith NoakesSeptember 14, 2017

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here. If you would like to attend an advance screening of Stronger in select cities across Canada, enter our contest here.

Synopsis: STRONGER is the inspiring true story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become the symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Jeff, a 27-year-old, working-class Boston man who was at the marathon to try and win back his ex-girlfriend Erin. Waiting for her at the finish line when the blast occurs, he loses both his legs in the attack. After regaining consciousness in the hospital, Jeff is able to help law enforcement identify one of the bombers, but his own battle has just begun. He tackles months of physical and emotional rehabilitation with the unwavering support of Erin and his family. It is Jeff’s deeply personal account of the heroic journey that tests a family’s bond, defines a community’s pride and inspires his inner courage to overcome devastating adversity. (eOne Films)

Starring: Jake GyllenhaalTatiana Maslany, and Miranda Richardson

Writer: John Pollono

Director: David Gordon Green

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 116mins


With this new film, we’ve had two recent films involving the Boston Marathon bombing. While Patriots Day dealt with the investigation of the attack and the city of Boston coming together, this film uses the incident as a jumping point (no pun intended) for a standard story about overcoming adversity and redefining one’s self. The story was about a man named Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal) who wanted to support his on and off girlfriend Erin (Maslany) by greeting her at the finish line of the Boston Marathon but ended up losing both of his legs in the explosion.

Learning to overcome this predicament definitely wasn’t easy for Bauman. He had to learn to walk again and get over the trauma of the explosion and his newfound celebrity. Not only did he have Erin, he had his very Boston-y family and friends. Gyllenhaal was great as Bauman and his progression throughout the film was compelling to watch. Maslany was great as Erin, she and Gyllenhaal had excellent chemistry which made them exciting to watch together.

Overall, this was a standard fare overcoming adversity/journey of self-discovery film, elevated by the great performances from Gyllenhaal and Maslany.

Score: 8/10

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