When we hear the words “Patriot’s Day” right now, our minds immediately go to the magical win our hometown football team pulled out several Sundays ago. Many of us aren’t thinking about a very different Patriot’s Day– the Boston Marathon bombing which took place four years ago, and which has inspired a recently-released movie directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg.
Being from the West Coast, and moving here long after the marathon incident, I have been curious about how the film about the Boston Marathon bombing was going to affect me. Walking up and down Boylston street last April, I tried to imagine what had occurred three years earlier, with only pictures I had seen on the news; it was difficult, but moving. I had been anticipating the release of the movie because I hadn’t heard the full story of what happened on this horrific day. April 15, 2013 was going to be a tough event to try and reenact, with the intention of leaving an everlasting effect on those watching in theaters, as well as those who had actually been there.
I feel the movie was successful in what it tried to do. I was completely engulfed in the events that were occurring on screen. The story shocked me, as the time line of events leading up to and following the bombing unraveled. I know the people who were in the audience with me left the theater with some of the same feelings as I had, because I watched hands fly to mouths throughout the two hours. I saw people shedding tears after taking in the actual events that occurred. This was a movie I found myself lost in; from the beginning right through to how it wrapped up, I became involved in the complexity and heroism of the story. One of my favorite reviews was done by the Wall Street Journal because it reflected my own feelings. The reviewer (Joe Morgenstern) said, “The hurtling action, speaking louder than any dialogue, gives a stirring sense of the suffering and heroism that flowed from the terror at the Boylston Street finish line.” The movie was packed with unbelievable action that left impressions no amount of dialogue could improve on.
As with all movies, there were mixed feelings and reviews. For example, a reviewer for the Atlantic Monthly (David Sims) wrote, “If Berg [the director] had dug deeper, he could have had a great film on his hands; as it stands, he’s delivered a rote, but occasionally thought-provoking, misfire.” Many of the reviews said it was excellently produced and kept the audience silent throughout the film. It was inevitable that there would be mixed feelings about a movie that touched so many memories. Everyone experienced this day in a different way which bound to cause many different opinions about how accurately the story was put together. Some said it was absolutely moving while others said it could have been done better. The popular review and vote on the film did tend to be more positive than not.
I thought the dedications at the end of the movie were beautiful and well expressed. Hearing thoughts from interviews with actual victims made the whole thing come together and feel so surreal. When a movie is based on a true story, it’s always nice to see who the real people are and how they feel about the movie. This was an amazing way to honor the lives lost and those altered on that day.
I left the theater with an appreciation for the police and volunteers who helped rush people to safety that day. I spent the most recent Marathon Monday on the streets the bombing took place on, and I could feel the sense of power that people were giving off with their Boston Strong shirts. As people crossed the finish line in Boston, it was not only a sense of finishing 26.2 miles, but a sense of overcoming the fear Boston lived in after those who were taken from us that day. “Patriots Day” may have brought attention to the two men who wanted nothing more than to be remembered for this act of terror; but even more importantly, it highlights how strong Boston and our country can be, and how we can come together to show we are bigger than any effort to destroy us.