This movie is based on the book Stronger, written by Jeff Bauman after he lost his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, who is portrayed as a charming, irresponsible slacker. His family are shown as dim, loud, loving, and kind of unpleasant. After one of his several break-ups with his girlfriend (Erin Hurley, played by Tatiana Maslany), Jeff makes a sign to cheer her on and goes to the Boston Marathon.
The setup before the explosion outlines Jeff's behaviour and his relationship to both his family and his sometimes girlfriend. After the explosion we're shown the struggles of everyone involved after Jeff comes home, although it concentrates most on Jeff and Erin.
I thought this was an immensely better executed take on the Boston Marathon Bombings than "Patriots Day:" it concentrates on recovery and hope, rather than hunting the bombers and prosecution. This one has outstanding acting, a better written and more interesting story, and - possibly most importantly - isn't so damn respectful. It acknowledges that nobody involved was perfect or a saint - they just did their best. (Although after reading up on Carlos Arredondo, I might consider nominating the man for sainthood ...)
Not an easy watch, but an effective portrayal of the personal struggle with a terrible hardship, the surface of which has become media fodder across the continent. And it ends on a note of hope, as it should.