The buildup to the accident is very quick, because that isn't what this movie is about. We see a quick exchange with his Costco co-workers, a brief scene with his girlfriend, and then we're at the 2013 Boston Marathon. The explosion is seen from afar, and there is no gore. In a scene or two, he's waking up in the hospital having had his legs amputated above the knees.
There aren't any politics, or gossip, or celebrity appearances. This is not a gratuitous movie to please your inner voyeur. It's a heartfelt retelling of the difficulty of Bauman's recovery, and I am sure that it doesn't even scratch the surface.
One of the hardest scenes to watch is one where Bauman is trying to do a simple task - use the bathroom. Bauman's family fills the living room of his home, cheering on the Boston Red Sox and yelling through the door every time they see "Boston Strong" on a baseball bat or sign. Meanwhile, Bauman is on the floor just trying to tear off a few sheets of toilet paper by himself. His family throughout the movie enjoys the attention, but fails to give Jeff the kind of physical and emotional support he needs. When Bauman turns down an interview with Oprah Winfrey because the publicity is too much, they push back hard rather than trying to figure out how he feels.
This movie is just as much about Jeff Bauman's girlfriend, Erin Hurley, as it is about him. She's the one who was running the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. In the movie, she was almost at the finish line, but in reality, she was about a mile away. The race took place during one of their many breakups, and her feelings of guilt, anger, fear, and responsibility weighed heavy on her mind - and on their relationship.
Ultimately, we get a glimpse into what it means to be an accidental celebrity. Bauman is approached everywhere he goes, yet gets out of traffic tickets and gets to throw out the first pitch for the Boston Red Sox. It's a mixed bag of emotions, but at the end of the day, he still has to do all of the recovery work himself.
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