Starring: Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson
Director: Bryan Buckley
Running Time: 100 mins
The Bronze is an American film about a former gymnastics star who once came third in an Olympic event, continuing to live in her hometown off her former fame, which has gone to her head.
A great bit of cynical comedy with a dark streak to it throughout, The Bronze is as hilarious as it is at times unbearably uncomfortable to watch, brought to life by great performances in a collection of charismatic and memorable leading roles.
There’s a lot to like about The Bronze, but the film’s biggest charm is in its darkest colours. Following the story of a conceited ex-gymnast still living off her former glory, the movie is a brilliant look at how fame corrupts, and the unstoppable force that is a deluded and self-centred personality.
In that role, Melissa Rauch is absolutely brilliant as the former athlete and local hero, going all out with both her foul-mouthed persona and her gymnastic skills to give a really vibrant performance that anchors the film fantastically throughout.
For the most part, The Bronze has a decent amount of laughs in its screenplay to be an enjoyable comedy, but it’s Rauch’s performance, as well as supporting turns from Gary Cole, Haley Lu Richardson and more, that bring the real energy to this film.
Even where the screenplay goes a little astray as things soften in the latter stages, the darker, harsher edges of the film are always there in the performances, further hammering home the movie’s brilliantly cynical streak and delivering deliciously dark laughs from start to finish.
Beneath the surface, meanwhile, there’s a touching and well-told story about a young woman who, despite her terrible attitude after her Olympic success, is trying to come to terms with her life back in her small home town, never being able to live up to the glory that that moment from the past gave her.
While laughs are certainly the central focus of The Bronze, I really appreciated how the movie did tell a story with a little more meat to it, even if it does stray into rather more generic and softer territory in the final act, lacking the sharp and dark edges of the opening stages.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Bronze. A delightfully dark watch with great performances across the board and even a tender story under the surface, it’s a strong film throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.