Critic Consensus: Stronger rises on the power of its well-chosen ensemble to offer an emotionally resonant fact-based story that transcends inspirational drama clichés.
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Critic Reviews for Stronger
But the movie shouldn't be dismissed as just another real-life drama to catch on cable TV someday; Stronger is a profound, sensitively made gem.
The boldest thing Stronger does is trust enough in Maslany's performance and in the writing of her character to allow Erin to do something that a lesser movie would never even attempt.
Green's film has a tense, nervy energy, most of which seems to glow from Gyllenhaal's very core.
"Stronger" always feels right in the moment, solidified by an outstanding central performance by Gyllenhaal, and some wonderful ensemble work, especially the actors just below the top billing.
There are few actors in their 30s more well-rounded than [Jake] Gyllenhaal right now, as capable of taking on disturbing psychologies in aggressive indies as they are the lead roles in crowd-pleasing tearjerkers.
Audience Reviews for Stronger
A real life story of overcoming tragedy played with sensitivity and panache. The self-doubt permeating the tale is it's strongest go-to, and what draws the audience into the story. The supporting cast is up to the challenge on telling the story as well, often silently delivering the impact of the events, helpless bystanders. It's gonna be hard finding an American who doesn't like this film.
Emotionally affecting, powerful acting performance by Jake G, and a great true story. Loses a star because it normalizes drinking and driving, which triggered me.
An inspiring true-life story that still manages to stay grounded on its own terms, Stronger is an emotionally affecting movie buoyed by two sensational performances. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, an ordinary guy who is present at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and loses his legs in the attack. He was there to support his on-again off-again girlfriend, Erin (Tatiana Maslany). Needless to say, his whole world changes and he has to adjust to a new life, a new identity, and the hardships placed upon others within his family sphere, especially Erin. This is a very solid meat and potatoes kind of drama. It's not flashy or inventive but it has serious human drama and it treats it as such. I was on the verge of tears for a solid thirty minutes. Gyllenhaal delivers yet another Oscar-worthy performance, burrowing into an average screw-up thrust into the national limelight. Everyone tells him he's a hero, but he doesn't feel it. Everyone wants a piece of him and his doting mother (Miranda Richardson) often blurs the line between pride in her son and exploitation. The colorful, coarse, dysfunctional family dynamic will remind many of 2010's The Fighter. I greatly appreciated that even after the terrorist attack Jake is not canonized. He's no saint just because something terrible happened to him. Director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) takes great care to keep the movie grounded even as it hits the standard inspirational notes, finding moments of grace in unexpected places and people. The backbone of Stronger is the thoroughly moving relationship between Jake and Erin. They have exchanges of both ferocious anger and deep tenderness. A post-amputation sex scene between them is so intimately filmed by Green that you almost feel like you're intruding. Maslany (Orphan Black) can break your heart or make it melt just with an expression. The non-verbal acting in this movie is truly exceptional. Stronger is a strongly developed drama with characters that earn every one of your hard-fought tears. Nate's Grade: B+
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