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Dir: David Gordon Green (15 119 mins )

A true-life, inspirational tale of triumph over adversity with a grueling performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger deals with life for a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal), whose on/off girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany) is running in the marathon. Their relationship is in crisis, with Jeff never showing up when she needs him most. He shows up to cheer her over the finish line and loses both his legs in the terrorist explosion. It is his rehabilitation and their ongoing relationship that forms the backbone of the film, as he struggles through the horror of the attack, becomes a poster boy of defiance for Boston and tries to walk again. What could have been schmaltzy and very cliched is given richness by the script, direction from David Gordon Green and the performances. There is a grittiness to it all, making Stronger a realistic, moving story of hope.

Opens December 8

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