“The Bronze” (2015)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed by: Bryan Buckley
Featuring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, Haley Lu Richardson and Dale Raoul
Hope: “Throughout history, those who are truly great, have stepped up. Just like all of you. You give me a smile or a wave. Or sometimes you break the celebrity boundary and come up to me, tell me about where you were on the day I made this country proud. There is a reason I call this town my home. ‘Cause you fuckers remind me of who I am. And who I can be. I am… Coach Hope.”
Living in the past is something we all do to a point; we relive good times and bad times. Sometimes this can be a great reminder of great accomplishments, it can also be a lesson to learn from for us to move forward with our lives. “The Bronze” is a film that was released in 2015 and premiered at Sundance to great acclaim, and while on the surface this seems to be a crude and rude comedy, it is much more than that. While watching the film I wondered if it was ahead of its time by a few years, and in this post election world it may have been much more successful. With someone who not only lives in the past but lives in an imagined reality much like Trump.
The film revolves around former gymnastics Bronze Medalist Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) who has been living off her celebrity status in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio, although she is reduced to going through the mail her mailman father delivers for spending money. When her former coach Pavleck (Christine Abrahamsen) suddenly commits suicide, a letter arrives addressed to Hope stating that if she can guide Pavleck’s best student, a young gymnastics star named Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson) to the Olympics in Toronto, she will receive a $500,000 inheritance. From here the film kicks it up a gear and I won’t say to much more as its best left as a surprise.
Melissa Rauch, who starts and co-wrote the film along with her husband and director Bryan Buckley brings to life a truly original character who not only lives in the past, in this case 2004, a time when she was a winner and at the top of her game, but also seems to enjoy torturing others. She has a unique outlook on life that rubs many people in her life the wrong way, but they all seem to enable her – except for her father, kind of. Rauch is in a star making role, that many people have not seen, which is a shame because it is as good a comedy role as has been seen in years.
The film represents the US in the worst and best possible light, as Hope representing America, lives in a past that actually was not all the great, and with others lying to her she is unable to face the past and live up to a new future. It is not until she finds a new lease on life (hope if you will) that she is able to start to become a fully realized adult – as much as Hope can be. She uses what she has and twists it to make herself a future in her hometown and let people in so she can forge new relationships.
As well as Rauch the cast includes the great Gary Cole, as Hopes endearing father who is the one that instigates the story. From the recent Captain America films comes this movies villain, Sebastian Stan in a role that could have been more arch, but he fills it with a huge amount of personality. The film’s cast is rounded out by Thomas Middleditch (TV’s “Silicon Valley”) and Haley Lu Richardson fresh off the excellent “The Edge of Seventeen” (2016).
What separates this from other comedies is its originality of both setting and character, the way that the changes all of that the characters go through is not too far removed from their origins. This is what makes the film so good and as good as “Bridesmaids” (2012) the film is most closely resembles in terms of characters and the impact it should have had.
“The Bronze” is so good and watchable that it needs re-watching as the dialogue and physical humor is as good as anything you have or will see. This is a high recommend and indeed worth a purchase, it is out now on DVD.