Stronger (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 18, 2017 by  

A heartfelt film about a man who survived the Boston Marathon bombing but the traumatic experience and adversity he had to go through in order to wake up and learn what is most important to him and that his life has changed, but knowing he must become stronger in order to lift himself from that darkness and use his experience to inspire others.  David Gordon Green’s “Stronger” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lionsgate. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Stronger


DURATION: 115 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (2:40:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate


RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2017

Based on the book “Stronger” by Jeff Bauman, Bret Witter

Directed by David Gordon Green

Screenplay by John Pollono

Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Michel Litvak, Scott Silver

Executive Producer: Riva Marker, Anthony Mattero, Peter H. McGuigan, Nicolas Stern, Jeffrey Stott, Gary Michael Walters, Alexander Young

Music by Michael Brook

Cinematographer: Sean Bobbitt

Casting by Deborah Aquila, Jennifer L. Smith, Tricia Wood

Production Design by Stephen H. Carter

Art Direction by Paul Richards

Set Decoration by Jeanette Scott

Costume Design by Leah Katznelson, Kim Wilcox


Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman

Tatiana Maslany as Erin Hurley

Miranda Richardson as Patty Bauman

Richard Lane Jr. as Sully

Nate Richman as Big D

Lenny Clarke as Uncle bob

Patty O’Neil as Aunt Jenn

Clancy Brown as Big Jeff

Kate Fitzgerald as Aunt Karen

Danny McCarthy as Kevin

Frankie Shaw as Gail Hurley

Carlos Sanz as Carlos

Michelle Forziati as Jill Hurley

Inspired by the true story, STRONGER stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a working-class Bostonian who was at the 2013 marathon when the bomb blast occurred and he tragically lost both of his legs. After regaining consciousness, Jeff was able to help law enforcement identify one of the bombers, but his own battle had just begun. Jeff’s deeply personal journey tests a family’s bond and defines a community’s pride as he overcomes adversity to become the living embodiment of ”Boston Strong.”

When the bombs went off at the 2013 Boston Marathon, among the people who were caught in the blast was Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs on that day and nearly losing his life. Having his legs amputated, Bauman would live through hell and back after his legs were amputated.

Bauman would eventually chronicle his life a year later for his 2014 book “Stronger” (co-written with Bret Witter) which written to coincide the first anniversary of the bombings.

In 2017, a film adaption of Bauman’s book would be directed by filmmaker David Gordon Green and an adaptation was written by John Pollono.

The film would star Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”, “Donnie Darko”, “Prisoners”), Tatiana Masly (“Orphan Black”, “Picture Day”, “Eastern Promise”), Miranda Richardson (“Sleepy Hollow”, “The Hours”, “The Crying Game”), Richard Lane Jr., Nate Richamn and Lenny Clarke (“Rescue Mee”, “Are You There, Chelsea?”).

The film revolves around Jeff Bauman (portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal), a Boston native who works at a deli counter of Costco and lives in an apartment with his alcoholic mother, Patty (portrayed by Miranda Richardson).  Jeff often tries to get the attention of his ex-girlfriend Erin (portrayed by Tatiana Maslany), who they often have an off-and-on relationship, primarily because while she loves Jeff for his kindness and charm, his underachieving way and lack of commitment tends to end their relationship.

When Jeff finds out that she is running in the Boston Marathon to raise money for her hospital that she works at, Jeff gets everyone at the bar to donate to her and promises Erin that he will wait in the finish line with a big sign.

While Jeff is often late in engagements to meet with Erin, he finally gets to the Boston Marathon before she reaches the finish line.  But a bomb goes off where Jeff was standing and a second bomb goes off.  Unfortunately, Jeff was standing in the area where the first bomb exploded, tearing his legs and foot from his body but is helped by a man, with a cowboy hat (portrayed by Carlo Sanz).

Erin and Jeff’s family rushes to the hospital where they find out that both legs had to be amputated.  When he regains consciousness, he tells his brother that he saw the bomber before the explosion and he gives the FBI a description of one of the terrorists.  As authorities go after one of the surviving terrorists, Jeff is hailed as a hero.

And while Jeff struggles with his new condition and his relationship with Erin is renewed, unfortunately the fame and the crowds start to trigger traumatic flashbacks for Jeff and Erin starts to realize that Jeff’s mental state is quite fragile and the fame is having an effect on him, despite his mother trying to book interviews for Jeff in getting him more media attention which starts to intensify his PTSD.

Will Jeff come to terms of his life and be able to deal with the trauma and take on the challenges that lie ahead of him?


“Survivor” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film shows great detail on closeups and low-light situations are presented well. Colors are natural and for the most part, the film looks very good in HD.


“Survivor” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and while the film is primarily dialogue-driven. Surround channels are more for ambiance during scenes with crowds (as Jeff would have to go to crowded sports arenas) and scenes of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.


“Stronger” comes with following special feature:

  • Faith, Hope & Love: Becoming Stronger – A half-hour behind-the-scenes featurette.


“Stronger” comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code.

2017 has been a year we are seeing films that pertain to the Boston bombing.  From actor Mark Wahlberg’s film “Patriot’s Day”, as a cop involved in the pursuit of the the terrorists who are responsible for the Boston bombings and paying respects to the authorities who lost their lives or were involved in the pursuit.  To a celebration of the Boston Marathon in “Boston the Documentary” narrated by Matt Damon.

And now we have “Stronger”, a film about one of the bomb survivors, Jeff Bauman.  An adaptation of his book of the same title that is less about the pursuit of the terrorists and less about the horrifying moments after the bombing but focusing on how Bauman dealt with life after both legs were amputated and dealing with the new fame of being called a hero.

This was not at all easy for Jeff Bauman, portrayed by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who grew up as a normal guy who wasn’t an overachiever, who lived with an alcoholic mother and all of a sudden, he loses two legs, lives his new hell with the reality of not walking again and adjusting to his new life.  And now being invited to all these sporting events, meeting major athletes and everyone calling him a hero.

On the outside, it may seem that Jeff is given a hero’s welcome and things will be OK, but in truth, the media attention is adding to his PTSD and leading him into a life where his mother was in, becoming an alcoholic, combative with people including the love of his life, Erin.  And having to deal with the traumatic experience, memories of the blast and losing his legs.

By no means is Jeff fine, but it all comes down to is if he’s ready to take on this new life and the fame that came with it.

And this is the story that that filmmaker David Gordon Green and writer, John Pollono brings to the big screen, showcasing actor Jake Gyllenhaal in another wonderful role that pushes the actor to take on various challenges, physical and emotional.

This film is no doubt profound and shows how this man who sinks deep into PTSD is able to overcome incredible odds.  There is no sugarcoating Bauman’s life, sure he was honored at major sporting games but no one knows how bad his life was at the time of his newfound fame.  It was no doubt traumatic but while Bauman has trouble with being called a hero, his account in helping the FBI identify one of the terrorist bombers was no doubt important (considering many media misidentified the bombers responsible that day).

And as Jake Gyllenhaal pulled of a fantastic performance as Jeff Bauman, actress Tatiana Maslany also performed wonderfully as Jeff’s girlfriend, Erin.  In a role where she had to be a caring girlfriend to Jeff, but also having to stand up to him and his mother about his PTSD and how badly he was sinking in despair.  It’s a strong character role which shows Erin, not just being the rock in his life of helping him get better, but the responsible, direct voice that equates to a swift kick in the ass, which Bauman needed in order to gain any perspective of how bad things were in his life and that his life is forever changed.

The film looks and sounds great on Blu-ray as one can expect and the release also comes with a half-hour featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and what went on in the making of “Stronger”.

Overall, a heartfelt film about a man who survived the Boston Marathon bombing but the traumatic experience and adversity he had to go through in order to wake up and learn what is most important to him and that his life has changed, but knowing he must become stronger in order to lift himself from that darkness and use his experience to inspire others. 

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