When I was talking to a friend when ‘Stronger’ first came out, and he said, ‘Isn’t this the kind of movie wherein you just know what is going to happen based on the story?’ and back then I agreed, and I believed it. I also remember seeing the previews for this so much that I felt I had already seen the movie.
Well, I just did finally see the movie and I was wrong on some of my initial assessments. First, there is more to the film than the formula it looks like it employed – a victim of an attack, and him finding his way back. This is a raw and honest portrayal of a man whose life was changed because he was right by the bomb that detonated at the Boston marathon. Sure, the story follows the trajectory of the formula I talked about, but this felt deeper, and heartfelt, probably because of a magnificent performance by Jake Gylenhaal. He is perfection here, with an even tempered performance that’s realistic and touching. In the hands of a lesser actor, this role could have been overwrought, but he balances it just right here. I don’t think I ever seen Gylenhaal give a bad performance, but his work here is Academy Award worthy (Of course, now that I have said that, he will probably get snubbed…again)