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Bolstered by sterling turns from stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, and Miranda Richardson, the film is a showcase for what Green has always been able to do so well, and what his actors continue to excel at.
Stronger is a film filled with warmth and humanity, but one that doesn’t sugarcoat the reality that comes with it.
The Hollywood Reporter
Perhaps the most striking thing about David Gordon Green’s Stronger is how it refuses to turn its subject into a hero or even a small-time symbol of courage, as one might legitimately expect of a survivor story, even while the world is clamoring to put him on a pedestal.
Some of it is too broad, and I wish the film dug a little deeper at times, but this is one of those rare inspirational films that earns its inspiration.
The Film Stage
Gyllenhaal is onscreen pouring his heart and soul into an imperfect man who’s made more inspiring for being so.
The A.V. Club
It’s nice to report that Green, Gyllenhaal, and Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany hit some grace notes—and plant the germ of some interesting ideas—en route to the expected lifting of spirits.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Realism will only take you so far, and Stronger eventually opts for a conventional tale of rekindled romance and resurgent resilience.
What keeps Green's film just about on the right side of rote is a trio of solid performances, a sensitive, fair portrayal of Jeff's relationship with Erin with some standout scenes between the two, and a focus on the personal over the political.
Although director David Gordon Green commendably opts for a realistic, unfussy depiction of Bauman and his on-again/off-again girlfriend (played with welcome grit by Tatiana Maslany), Stronger feels more perfunctory than lived-in.
Stronger feels genuine and certainly has the right intentions, but never converts to something truly enlivening.
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