Jake Gyllenhaal is devastating in this true-life drama about Jeff Bauman, a victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing who became a beacon of healing for the city

Film Review by Tom Charles | 07 Dec 2017
Film title: Stronger
Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson
Release date: 8 Dec
Certificate: 15

Eight months after Patriots Day comes David Gordon Green’s Stronger, a more intimate account of the Boston Marathon bombing. Gordon Green's film takes just a single viewpoint, that of 27-year-old Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal in devastatingly fine form) who was standing at the finish line on the day of the bombing, cheering on his ex (A-lister in waiting Tatiana Maslany) in an attempt to win her back.

For the first 20 minutes of the film the tension ratchets up with little extra work required from Gordon Green and his editor Dylan Tichenor; the inevitability of the event is enough. The thumbnail sketches of Jeff, his family and his friends are deftly done, detailing mild impoverishment.

It’s after the event, when Jeff wakes up in hospital with both his legs missing, that Stronger really shifts up a gear. Through no choice of his own, he’s made a figurehead of a city in healing, at a time when he has no idea how to heal himself.

Released by Lionsgate