It is, hands down, the best performance this year that no one is talking about. Jake Gyllenhaal blew us away by portraying Massachusetts native Jeff Bauman in David Gordon Green's Stronger. Jeff's story becomes compelling because he was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when terrorists set off a multiple homemade bombs. But as this exclusive clip from Lionsgate proves, the hook of Jeff is Jeff, himself, and his colorful personality makes him an incredible protagonist for Gyllenhaal to play. Watch this clip on the actor meeting the real man, courtesy of Stronger and Lionsgate:
Stronger delves into the difficult story of Jeff Bauman and his recovery after the Boston Marathon Bombing. But it's not just the physical struggle of learning to walk on artificial legs... which Jeff had to do. It's the fact that he is adopted as the face of the "Boston Strong" movement -- a patriotic slogan that feels very hollow to Jeff because he doesn't want to be a symbol. He just wants to be a normal guy who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
During the promotional run up to the release of Stronger, audiences got to see the wildly charismatic Jake Gyllenhaal and his inspiration, Jeff Bauman, playing off of each other on the talk show circuit. The duo on Ellen Degeneres' program was particularly priceless.
You can tell that the time that Jake Gyllenhaal spent with Jeff Bauman in preparation for Stronger, which is captured in the exclusive clip, paid off in some hilarious comedic chemistry between the men, They truly come off as friends in these clips, and it makes me appreciate Stronger all the more.
I'm already a huge fan. As I wrote in my review of David Gordon Green's drama, Stronger is "one of the best movies of the year," and a remarkable, emotional film [that] tells an unforgettable story of strength, fortitude, perseverance and love, but it doesn't shy away from the painful realities that surround any such journey." I wish that more people caught it in theaters, and that Jake Gyllenhaal was hearing his name in the developing Oscar race. Perhaps that will change as the movie makes its way to home video.
Speaking of, Lionsgate has Stronger on digital starting today, Dec. 5, and will get it on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 19. Do yourself a favor and make the time to see it. It's fantastic, as is Gyllenhaal's performance.
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