Musical Score By:
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on the memoir of the same name by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter, Stronger tells the story of Jeff Bauman (Jake Gyllenhaal), a working-class Bostonian whose entry into the Boston Marathon proves to be a turning point in his life. Losing his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, Bauman must find a way to adjust to his new life and, in the end, he finds not only the courage to endure, but the love of a lifetime.
The musical score of Stronger was created by Canadian guitarist, producer and composer Michael Brook. Beginning his career as a recording artist, guitarist, producer and collaborator, Brook worked with a number of notable performers, such as Brian Eno, David Sylvian, The Pogues, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jane Siberry. As Brook’s music began to be used in films like Heat and Any Given Sunday, he began to develop an interest in film scoring. Since then, he has created musical scores for such notable films as The Perk of Being a Wallflower, Into the Wild, The Fighter, Chavez, An Inconvenient Truth, Brooklyn and Undefeated.
The score of Stronger is mainly piano, strings and guitar. The first three tracks, Tunnels and Trash, Ill Be There and Race Over Boston are upbeat and happy containing light string strokes and higher notes. According to the composer, “David Gordon Green [director] and Jake Gyllenhaal, [actor/producer] wanted the opening cue to strongly and instantly establish the emotional perspective that Jeff was a sweet, thoughtful kind of guy who has a fantastic sense of humor. They felt, and I agreed, that a sweet, almost playful cue could initiate a sort of emotional resonance that would bring a kind of balance to the rest of the film.” By the fourth track, Out of Breath, the music becomes more subdued and somber. But as the movie moves forward and Bauman decides to take control of his life, an upbeat and happy sound returns mixed with a sense of determination.
The drama of this film and the emotional turmoil felt by Bauman after losing his legs in a terrorist act is perfectly defined in Michael Brook’s score. We feel the pain and anguish, the depression, the sense of loss, but we also feel the determination, the struggle to get back on his feet again and the upturn in Bauman’s life at the end of the film. The Stronger Soundtrack is definitely one of those albums well worth the listen.