Jake Gyllenhaal offers a realistic portrayal on the impacts of disabilities following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing


Ellie Bennett, Co Print Editor in Cheif

Raking in a little over $5 million in the first month of being released is the outstanding movie “Stronger.” Critics, like Glenn Kenney of the New York Times, have reported it as “an artistic risk, full of raw emotion” and a “profound, sensitively made gem,” and I could not agree more.

The movie shines a light on the daily struggles of physical disabilities, and offers a fresh perspective that highlights the various individuals who comprise the disabled community.
Directed by David Green, “Stronger” is not your typical “true life story” movie. The movie is about Jeff Bauman, who lost both his legs during the Boston Marathon bombing on April 13, 2013. Those present at the event not only lost love ones, but part of themselves, both physically and mentally.

The movie shows the real story of Bauman (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), going through the most trying period of his life following the bombing. The movie centers on Bauman’s physical and mental rehabilitation into society after the incident. On top of coming to terms with his disability, Bauman also attempts to overcome his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), triggered by the harrowing nature of the bombing itself.

Before the bombing, Bauman was a worker at the Costco Deli counter, suffering from a break up with long time girlfriend, Erin Hurley. He lost both his legs at the marathon, which he only attended to prove his faithfulness to Erin, looking to win her back. As Hurley aides in Bauman’s recovery attempt, the two find themselves connected in a way never before experienced in their relationship.

With physical therapy being such a huge aspect of his rehabilitation, a large portion of the movie focuses on Bauman’s attempts to relearn the basic physical actions that were lost in the bombing. In order to make the movie as authentic as possible, Green hired all real-life doctors and nurses to play the roles of those on Bauman’s recovery team. Something else viewers notice in the movie is the outstanding performance on part of Jake Gyllenhaal, as he portrays Bauman in such a realistic way that it appears he isn’t even acting. In order to get into character, Bauman sat down with the Gylenhaal and opened up about the thoughts and emotions he experienced during the situation, which allowed Gyllenhaal to portray Bauman perfectly.

This movie had me experiencing an array of emotions, from heartbreak, to happiness and most importantly pride in how far he came from the beginning of the picture. I haven’t cried as much or had my hand over my mouth in shock as often as I did while watching this movie.

‘Stronger’ is the perfect title for a story and movie like this, as Bauman definitely is stronger than most after all he has gone through. This movie is something special, something that will set a trend when it comes to movie telling a story based on true events. Hopefully, future productions will follow in Green’s footsteps when it comes to showing the real, raw truth of people that are affected in tragedies like this one.