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Stronger is a biographical film about Jeff Bauman, one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing, which happened on the 15th April 2013.
Jeff Bauman is played as a goofy unorganised person by Jake Gyllenhaal, who seems to get on the nerves of his on-off relationship with his girlfriend Erin Hurley, who is portrayed by actress Tatiana Maslany.
Before the bombing the storyline weaves around the day to day ‘living’ part of life and the introduction in the bar of his sporadic behaviour towards his girlfriend Erin, though it seems she’s broken of things while she wants Jeff to sort himself out.
You get a glimpse of a young man trying to do the right thing but at the same time being somewhat unreliable and thus having disjointed human interactions especially with Erin.
But Jeff learns that Erin is going to run the up and coming yearly Boston Marathon, which gets Jeff excited for her and even rallies the troops in the bar to donate more money to his ‘girl’s charitable cause.
Being the fact that this film is based on truth you see the writing on the wall. Here we have a hapless young man trying desperately to get his ‘girl’ back that he would anything to achieve the relationship he had with her.
What this really means is that for once in Jeff’s life he was actually punctual at the finishing line to cheer on Erin and hopefully win her back as a dependable guy, but the consequence was to devastate Jeff for the rest of his life - as he was there when the two terrorist bombs were set-off in the crowd at the finishing line.
The film becomes challenging to watch as you are thrust close-up to the bloody carnage of people with limps blown-off and once the deafening silence subsides, you hear the screams, yelling or just whimpering to a slow and painful death.
Then the camera focuses on Jeff who is sprinted away on a wheelchair with two men around him trying to make that journey to an awaiting ambulance less painful and dramatic, than the scene your trying to compute to make sense of the frantic chaos around the sidewalk and road, where the two bombs exploded.
When you eventually see Jeff pull through the journey has just began. You can image putting yourself in his shoes. Would Erin want to stay with someone with no legs? Could she handle the mental scars and emotional rollercoaster that comes with the territory? These questions are played-out between Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany perfectly well as you get engaged with this most difficult [human] situation of physical loss as well as mental challenges to overcome in order for Jeff to rebuild his shattered life.
We would all like stories that feature such atrocities to have a positive outcome but there are some hopefully signs that things sort of work-out for Jeff in his own disjointed way.
If you have some knowledge of the outcome four years later Jeff and Erin divorced but remain firm friends and committed to co-parenting their daughter.
“When you are faced with life changing injuries, the only thing you are left with, is to rebuild your life with those that truly love you”
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