Critic Consensus: Stronger rises on the power of its well-chosen ensemble to offer an emotionally resonant fact-based story that transcends inspirational drama clichés.
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Critic Reviews for Stronger
It's one of those decent, well-acted, non-revelatory efforts destined to be filed snarkily under "this had awards buzz" through no real fault of its own.
... stealing the best bits from My Left Foot, Born on the Fourth of July and The Theory of Everything by playing a character who's not quite paralysed, but mostly in a wheelchair and delivering enormous shouty set-piece speeches ...
Stronger is at its best in its harshest moments, when it acknowledges the contradictions in its hero's story and portrays his bitterness and self-loathing as well as his courage.
Aside from a few mawkish missteps near the tail end, this film feels like the product of a confident, able and self-aware director.
Can't a disabled hero, once on screen, not be a hero? Can't he be a human being whose tragedy, even if "triumphed" over, probes deeper thoughts and feelings than crass exultation?
Audience Reviews for Stronger
Surprisingly unsentimental portrayal of one of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. While quite a few similar films automatically turn everyone dealing with a life changing handicap into a hero, this one doesn't shy away from showing the difficulties, including going to the bathroom or still having a sexuality. There is no pathos, heroism or cheesiness maybe up until the very last scenes. What helps is an outstanding cast, showing once again that Gyllenhaal and Maslany are among the most talented actors their age.
A real life story of overcoming tragedy played with sensitivity and panache. The self-doubt permeating the tale is it's strongest go-to, and what draws the audience into the story. The supporting cast is up to the challenge on telling the story as well, often silently delivering the impact of the events, helpless bystanders. It's gonna be hard finding an American who doesn't like this film.
Emotionally affecting, powerful acting performance by Jake G, and a great true story. Loses a star because it normalizes drinking and driving, which triggered me.
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