Stronger

Stronger ★★★

My commentary focuses on the social aspects rather than the film's fresh take on the post-trauma genre on the surface. A film about a bombing in the U.S. suggests painful-to-watch victimisation of the country, followed by the characters' sugary patriotism, which ultimately makes America great again. Stronger seems to craft the opposite - the event of the bombing actually reveals the absurdity of American chauvinism. The people start deeming the "fallen soldier" a hero just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the media perpetuate him as the symbol of, I don't know, America, as he becomes the patron of a hockey game even though he's dying internally. And the film subtly implies why the combo people-media generates such maudlin chauvinism - because some people (Richardson's character) "would have hung themselves if it weren't for Oprah". Checkmate.

Then again, Stronger starts contradicting itself in the second half of the film. Gyllenhaal and Maslany's characters start having huge relationship problems, and they don't resolve the conflict by themselves but by Gyllenhaal's embrace of his heroisation. He appears in front of the biggest crowd possible (sports fans), "plays" baseball (perhaps the most American game) and consequently, Maslany sees the beauty within him. Is this what happened in the true story? Well, that's okay, but it's kinda hypocritical.

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