Being a former dancer, runner and Bikram yoga enthusiasts, having knee replacement surgery was one of the most life altering experiences of my life. The mental and physical torture of physical therapy was the price I paid for years of wearing down cartilage. Many a night, I sobbed mourning my former active self. Until, one day I realized that there were some people worse off than me and much more dire circumstances. In other words, I became grateful for this new knee and learned to circumvent my way around my limitations.
28 year-old Jeff Bauman had a study job at Costco, intense/complicated relatives, never showed up for the love of his life and was a proud Bostonian. Most of the changed on April 15, 2013.
Based on the book by Bauman and Bret Witter, Stronger and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown and Lenny Clarke, the audience gets a graphic front row seat at how such a tragic event uplifts and inspires not only a city, but the entire nation. Bauman, was also the only survivor to actually be an eye-witness to what the terrorists looked like that with a pressure cooker ruined many lives at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013.
Particularly this week, we are hearing and seeing images of disasters all over the world. We never stop and think for one moment what happens when the media is on to the next news story and all these lives are left to pick up what is left. Stronger puts a face on that and the struggle of how PTSD not only affects the victim, but their inner circle of support as well.
For Jake Gyllenhaal, finding the essence of his character turned out to be weighty and meticulous process. Bauman’s innate stoicism sometimes made it difficult to pay tribute to is his extraordinary perseverance without losing his humanity or vulnerability. “There’s definitely an attitude among Bostonians, particularly the men, tho hold things close to the vest…to try and get Jeff to talk about his feelings was difficult. It’s just his natural state. So, I had to find nonverbal clues in his rhythms or his approach to certain problems>”
Jake Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Jeff sucks you right into his world, his frustration and his indomitable spirit. For someone who has lost both legs, what he hasn’t lost is his sense of humor and thirst for life. Tatiana Maslany, as Jeff’s ex-girlfriend Erin Hurley, is enormously sympathetic, even at moments when she is to entirely likable, which makes the character complex and realistic.” Those scenes with the mother (Miranda Richardson) are EVERYTHING!!! There’s nothing worse than watching a mother be extremely over-protective of her son and not allowing him to become a man.
Stronger will make you think twice the next time you want to complain about how tough your life is. There is always someone out there that has it just a little bit rougher, but finds the inner strength to carry on in spite of it all.
Stronger, produced by Roadside Attractions is in theaters NOW!!!