Stronger (Lionsgate/Roadside, 9.22), David Gordon Green‘s film version of Jeff Bauman‘s “Stronger” (co-written by Bret Witter), is obviously cut from a different cloth than Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg‘s Patriots Day. It’s a kind of “Neitszche, fuck yeah!” film, or rather a feature-length echo of the German philsopher‘s famous quote along these lines.
In a nutshell: How I survived and built past the loss of my legs after the 2013 Boston marathon bombing.
How can Jake Gyllenhaal‘s performance as Bauman not translate into a major Best Actor bid? You can tell he’s dug pretty deep. The only way this wouldn’t ignite is if reviewers and Academy types start moaning “what, another triumph of the spirit over trauma and adversity thing? We’ve seen this story 20 or 30 times.”
My first thought was that Gyllenhaal’s resemblance to Bauman is fairly striking, but my second was that he’s still Jake Gyllenhaal and is therefore too good-looking for Tatiana Maslany, who plays Bauman’s girlfriend (and later wife) Erin Hurley. Look at them together — she’s just not in his league. I’m sorry to irritate everyone by reminding that birds of a feather almost always flock together. If you look at photos of the real Bauman and Hurley [after the jump] you’ll see they’re closely matched.
I’m presuming that the end of the film will dramatize the fact that Bauman and Hurley decided earlier this year to get divorced. (The Hollywood Reporter‘s Pamela McClintock reported this last February.) A closing-credit acknowledgment won’t do — Gyllenhaal and Maslany have to act it out.
The CG leg-removal effects are obviously state of the art.
(l.) Erin Hurley; (r.) Jeff Bauman. (Art stolen from Hollywood Reporter piece about their impending divorce.)