Movie Review: Sony Pictures Classics' The Bronze


Directed by: Bryan Buckley
Written by: Melissa Rauch, Winston Rauch
Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, and Cecily Strong
Release Date: 3/18
Run Time: 100 min
Rating: R
A decade ago, Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) was America's sweetheart. Her inspired performance on a ruptured Achilles at the world's most prestigious gymnastics tournament clinched an unlikely bronze medal for the U.S. team and brought glory to her hometown of Amherst, Ohio. But in the years since that epic third place victory, Hope hasn't done a whole lot with her life. Still living in her dad Stan's (Gary Cole) basement, still sporting her daily uniform of a Team USA gym suit with teeny-bopper bangs, ponytail and scrunchie, she spends her days at the mall milking her minor celebrity for free food and favors.

Hope's routine is upended when she learns that she must coach Amherst's newest gymnastics prodigy Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson) in order to receive a sizeable financial inheritance. The hard-edged yet insecure Hope is faced with a serious dilemma: does she jeopardize her "hometown hero" status by devotedly training this rising star to achieve the dreams she never could? Or does she attempt to sabotage the impressionable Maggie to ensure that she remains the one and only star in Amherst?

I didn't know what to think about The Bronze when I got the invite to the screening. The concept looked interesting. I was hoping it would be a gem of an indie film, but it fell short. It was far from a gold medal, for sure.

I thought The Bronze had a lot of potential. It felt original. The story centers on Hope, a once great Olympic gymnast who failed to land a gold medal. Hope brought home a bronze medal instead, and it is her greatest accomplishment and greatest failure all in one. Melissa Rauch plays the jaded Hope. She was likable enough until she opened her mouth, and every third word was something profane or something nasty. At first, I laughed at the shock value, but it quickly got old.

And I realize that this is a smaller production, so I wasn't expecting perfection, but I was hoping for a better script. I would describe the dialogue as movie of the week quality. Felt uninteresting.

My biggest issue with The Bronze was that the redemption of Hope took too long. By the time the redemption came along, I didn't care anymore, because she had made me thoroughly dislike her. And this film isn't even very long.

I was so disinterested with Hope, that I gravitated more to the subplot with Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), the up and coming gymnast who hopes to surpass Hope's success. Maggie's mom is played by Cecily Strong, as the single mother janitor who is trying to move the family out of the trailer park they call home. I love Strong. But, she had a tiny role. Seemed like a waste of a good actress and funny comedienne. I wanted more of Maggie's subplot.

In the end, I tried to like it more than I actually did. There were a couple of moments where I genuinely laughed out loud. But, I found myself wincing more than I laughed. Also, there is a pretty graphic intimate scene near then end of the film. Viewer beware. If you're still compelled to see The Bronze, wait for it to show up on video or digital. If you want to see it for yourself now, The Bronze opens Friday at theaters everywhere.

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