Stronger than Terrorism: Boston bombing film sparks controversy and awareness among CHS students and staff


Apurva Manas

Sophomore Annie Rose looks into the lens of a film camera, representing her Boston nativity with a “Boston Strong” shirt. Rose moved from Boston as a child and said she remembers the impact of the Boston Marathon on her family after moving to Indiana.

Hannah Gretz

Onthe afternoon of Monday, April 15, 2013, two young men detonated a homemade bomb at the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. Since the attack, the event has been nationally publicized and is now being portrayed in a film titled “Stronger,” which releases tomorrow. Staff and students at this school have reflected personally, academically and theatrically about the movie and the message it is expected to project.

Annie Rose, Boston native and sophomore, was personally impacted by the event and said she hopes the movie generates a positive view on the outcome of the attack.

“It was hard watching it happen,” Rose said. “I hope it gives a good impression on how the city bounced back from the attack.”

Rose has family members who were at the race, either as participants or volunteers at the finish line. When news of the explosion broke, fear and sadness put a burden on Rose and her family, as well as the city of Boston as a whole. For Rose, the film is a large step in creating awareness about the event.

“I think a film would be cool; I just hope they portray the story well,” she said.

In a classroom setting, IB Film teacher Jim Peterson said he and his students will examine the film’s sound design, cinematography, direction, effects and other visual and background traits that the movie carries.

“There is a lot of CGI, computer graphics and special effects t

hat go into producing a film like this,” Peterson said.  He predicts that “Stronger” will be intense in regards to the techniques the filmmakers used to show the logistics of the movie.


The movie centers on Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs after the bombing and was the subject of a famous photograph.

US History teacher Allison Hargrove said via email, “I am hoping the viewers leave with a sense of pride about how first responders reacted to the crisis, as well as how those killed or injured in the bombing impacted society for the better. The film is specifically about Jeff Bauman. I’ve only read his story, so I’m excited to see it portrayed in film.”

Hargrove said she has high hopes that viewers around the nation will appreciate the film and better understand how people responded, on top of how the cast expresses the true story.

As the movie shows the explosion itself and the impact it made on innocent attendees, Rose said she believes the film will impact Boston natives and citizens far more than anyone else.

“Boston natives will probably find the movie more controversial because even though it happened a couple of years ago, it’s still soon,” Rose said. “It’s a wound that we still need to let heal.”

Peterson said that those who were directly affected by the event will feel most connected to the film.

“Those people will hopefully appreciate the movie most,” Peterson said.

Casting, according to Hargrove, will also play a role in the film’s success.

“Often times, casting is such a critical part of telling the story,” she said.  “Jake Gyllenhaal (who stars in the movie) is one of my favorite actors because he researches parts extensively. I think this makes the characters more believable. There is always some added Hollywood flair, so as historians, we must look for that as well.”

According to Hargrove, the earlier film about the Boston bombing, “Patriots Day,” was for the most part well-received.

“I am wondering how different the films are from one another and what angle “Stronger” takes,” Hargrove said.

With an eye for film, Peterson said he would expect to see the aftermath of the bombing itself through the techniques used on set.

“When you have people with big names, they can draw crowds and audiences, and I don’t know if Jake Gyllenhaal has a big enough following to help the movie succeed,” Peterson said.

He said he hopes that audiences feel connected to the film through on-screen effects.

Peterson said, “I think the more dramatized and personal point of view the movie has, the better audiences’ emotions will be reached.”