The Movie: 9/10
Triumph over adversity, it’s a theme in the stories we tell, and always has been, but a lot of the old tales and ancient myths and legends just seem so far removed from our real modern lives. The thing about humans is that we will never stop suffering, never stop being horrible to each other, and never stop overcoming the tragedies that we put upon one another. Stronger is about a real person, a real event that only happened 3 years ago. We have probably all heard the harrowing personal accounts of the Boston Marathon bombing and after a while they all become one larger story about the event and not so much about each person. Stronger zooms in on one person who was injured, lost his legs in fact, and the impact of that day on his life, his family, his relationship, and that, for me magnifies the bigger picture of the bombing. I was thinking about every person who was killed, was injured, who saw the carnage, who came to help, who doctored the injured, who fed the masses of investigators and media, all the humanity that was called upon to bring things “back to normal” if you will. This movie made that day actually feel more real than all the news stories to date, or even the other movie that was made about it, Patriots Day.
This is supposed to be a movie review, so I’ll get back to the quality and story telling of this film. It’s good, it’s all good. The end. Oh, not enough for you? OK, the story hones in on one young man who lost his legs as he came to watch his ex-not-so-ex-girlfriend finish the race. He’s a regular guy, maybe having some issues with getting his shit together in life, and his family is strong but somewhat dysfunctional….sounds like a real person to me:) Through his recovery he goes through anger, and a phase of self-destruction, that’s all mixed with the whole world thinking of him as a hero. He’s not a hero, to his own admission, but he things they are thinking of the moment he was injured as the moment that made him a hero, but in fact it’s all about how he overcomes and keeps going in life in spite of the assholes who committed this really awful crime.
It’s paced just right to take us through the injury, coping, recovery, and eventually that feeling of triumph over it all. The performances are all just right, from our hero to his parents, his girlfriend, his friends, everyone felt convincing and honest. There is something about certain movies that gets me to cry, and then not stop crying through most of the whole thing…and that’s what happened here. Not from sadness only, but just thinking of how we do treat each other as people. The destruction and then the compassion, it’s overwhelming. I also have a close friend whose brother was in a motorcycle accident just a couple of years ago in which both of his legs were instantly cut off above the knees and there is a scene in this movie where his girlfriend is going through is sock drawer that really hit me. My friend’s daughter was helping pack her uncle’s apartment because he had to move to somewhere he could get more support and care through the process of dealing with his loss of his legs. The 10-year-old came out of the bedroom with socks in her hands and asked my friend, “So what do we do with these?”….and when you think about it..wow, it just gets ya.
- Faith, Hope & Love: Becoming Stronger (30 Minutes) – A really good in-depth featurette that actually interviews Jeff Bauman and others involved in the real life story.
- UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover tells you what you need to know about this story. I might not have it as a poster, unless I had a collection of these types of movie posters (person triumphs over adversity) because they would all have a similar vibe. A daily reminder of real people, albeit portrayed in fictional movies, overcoming hard times would be a good motivator to get over my petty whining about being too tired because I stayed up late watching too many episodes of Star Trek.
Audio & Video: 7/10
Stronger comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate and an AVC encode using the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Shot in 2K the film looks slightly softer than I am used to in today’s UHD era. It also seems slightly brighter than it should be. Fine detail is amazing though and flesh tones and color palette look great.
The DTS-HD 5.1 track is on par with what you can expect from a drama like this. The actual bombing which is very brief sounds incredible. The rest of the movie is mostly talky and always central in the sound-mix. Moments that include music are well handled.
Overall Score 9/10