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Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown, Richard Lane Jr

Director: David Gordon Green

Mark Wahlberg's Patriots Day told the story of the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. Stronger surveys the same atrocity from the point of view of one of the badly-injured survivors.

Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal in another gruelling role) was watching his on-off girlfriend Erin (Maslany) run, when one of the bombs went off right beside him. His legs were blown apart below the knee and he lost both.

The remainder of the film is a harrowing account of Bauman's fight for rehabilitation, through highs, lows, thoughts of self-pity and attempted suicide, culminating in Erin's pregnancy, as the warring couple have to decide whether or not to stay together.

Used (and sometimes misused) as a symbol of 'Boston Strong', Jeff gradually finds hope for the future.

The 'happy' ending is somewhat undercut by the knowledge that Jeff and Erin swiftly divorced, but the performances of Gyllenhaal and Maslany portray well the conflicted nature of the relationship, while Richardson gives a very untypical but good performance as Jeff's alcoholic mother.

Due to the somewhat repetitive nature of its content, the film doesn't grip all the way through, but remains a fitting tribute to courage in the face of appalling adversity.

David Quinlan

Canada 2017. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Company 3.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 05 Dec 2017