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MOVIES: The Bronze - Review - Sundance 2015

Kerri Strug meets Tonya Harding.

That is the best way I can sum up The Bronze, director Brian Buckley’s feature film debut. While I enjoyed this film and the raunchy, yet heartwarming journey it takes the audience on, somehow I was left feeling empty. To me, while this film was fun it didn’t pack the punch I’ve come to expect at Sundance.

The Bronze tells the story of Hope Ann Greggory, the miracle gymnast of the 2004 Olympics and hero to her sleepy hometown, who has been milking her 15 minutes for about 10 years. With Hope living so deeply and dysfunctionally in the past, The Bronze explores what happens when a new hometown sweetheart and Olympic hopeful steps on to the scene and how a woman clinging to the best moments of her life will deal with what’s left of her spotlight potentially being taken away.

Hope is played by the film’s co-writer Melissa Rauch, who perfectly portrays what happens when a child superstar refuses to live in the present. Hope is a crass and unlikable character and I think it speaks to the film’s story telling that by the end, we are rooting for her despite most of The Bronze’s events. That is what made watching this film to the end so satisfying.

That being said, this isn’t really a film for everyone. I initially was quite turned off while watching The Bronze, but grew to enjoy the movie as the story unfolded. It really displays a psychological examination of the uncomfortable implications that happen when a person refuses to leave a certain moment in time. There were a few funny scenes, mostly in the dialog which was very sharp and well written, taking a refuge in audacity that slaps you in the face. However, I would hesitate to use the phrase, “laugh out loud”.

And of course, there’s the acrobatic sex scene everyone has been talking about since the premiere. For me, it was an expected gag. I would have been disappointed if The Bronze didn’t go there but the scene seemed to go on just a touch too long. I will say, the supporting cast was excellent, with Gary Cole as the world weary stage dad and Sebastian Stan as a very effective antagonist. You want to root for Stan’s character and at the same time you don’t.

The Bronze was a very good film that I enjoyed, but I don’t think it will take home the gold.

All images are provided courtesy of the Sundance Institute.

About the Author – Ashley B
Ashley is as serious as a sleeping curse when she says television is her life. Professional event planner, avid movie viewer, convention enthusiast, and resident sass master, Ashley writes reviews for ABC's Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and Galavant, as well as Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. She looks forward each week to the weird and wonderful world her favorite television programs provide.
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