Cert 15, 116 minutes, in cinemas 8 December
The plot: Costco employee Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal) hopes to win back his ex-girlfriend Erin (Maslany) by cheering on her Boston Marathon run. When his legs are blown off in a terror attack, he becomes a reluctant symbol of the city’s fortitude.
What’s right With it? Powered by a wrenching turn from a grungylooking Gyllenhaal, Stronger brings Bauman’s journey vividly to life, as he tries – and often fails – to be the hero Boston wants him to be.
What’s Wrong With it? The depiction of Jeff’s limelight-courting extended family and especially his boozing mother (an unrecognisable Miranda Richardson) may be accurate, but also feels a tad cruel.
Verdict: The second major film about the 2013 Boston Marathon blast following Patriots Day, starring Mark Wahlberg. Stronger avoids easy sentimentality in its celebration of an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation.
“Mmm, minty breath”