2010 - 2017

Stronger [2017] ★★★½

“Stronger” may be a Hollywood product, but it is absolutely real, and certainly one of the year’s finest films. It’s also a perfect showcase for Jake Gyllenhaal, who delivers one of the best performances of his career, playing Jeff Bauman, a 28 year-old Boston man who lost both his legs in the 2013 Boston marathon bombing. I know what you’re thinking: another formulaic tearjerker that relies heavily on emotions. That’s partially true, but no movie with a terrific performance from its leading man should be dismissed out of hand. The result is a powerful and inspiring story of survival. Director David Gordon Green recreates this story with no political agenda whatsoever. His movie dramatizes the effects of terrorism, rather than its causes. And it’s Gyllenhaal’s fully committed work that sets this film apart; there isn’t a false note or wasted moment here (Oscar, take note). “Stronger” may be tough to watch at times, but it offers plenty of food for thought and an incredibly emotional finale. It’s easily one of the year’s best movies.

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