The Bronze (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bryan Buckley|
|Produced by||Stephanie Langhoff|
|Edited by||Jay Nelson|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Classics|
The Bronze is a 2015 American sports comedy-drama film directed by Bryan Buckley and written by Melissa Rauch and Winston Rauch. It was produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass through their Duplass Brothers Productions banner. The film stars Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong, Haley Lu Richardson and Dale Raoul. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2015. The film was theatrically released on March 18, 2016 by Sony Pictures Classics.
Former gymnastics Bronze Medalist Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch) has been living off her celebrity status in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio, though 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.
Unwilling to be overshadowed by Maggie’s success, Hope instead plans to take the money but sabotage Maggie’s training so she can stay on top, initially feeding her junk food and a shake laced with marijuana. Maggie performs so poorly that arrogant Olympic Gold Medalist Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan), who resents Hope’s celebrity on account of her inferior bronze medal (which she won despite a career-ending injury) threatens to take over as Maggie’s coach. When Hope learns she will forfeit the inheritance money if she does not continue training Maggie, Hope convinces Maggie’s mother to let Maggie stay with her and grudgingly devotes herself to Maggie’s training in earnest. Along the way, she enters a romance with her assistant coach Ben Lawfort (Thomas Middleditch), nicknamed “Twitchy” due to his compulsive blinking habit.
Hope’s efforts eventually pay off when Maggie qualifies for the Olympic Games. However, she is shocked to discover that Coach Pavleck’s gym is in danger of closing because Pavleck had no money to her name when she died. Upon hearing the news, Hope’s father confesses that he was the one who had written the letter, to motivate Hope to do something meaningful with her life. After a heated exchange, Hope gets drunk and ends up having sex with Lance Tucker, leading a heartbroken Ben who witnessed the act to break off their relationship.
Maggie succeeds in winning the gold medal and is celebrated as a local hero in Amherst, but announces her intention to begin training with Lance in Los Angeles instead of staying with Hope. When Maggie fails to show up for an autograph signing at a mall, Hope addresses the disappointed crowd and declares that she will always be Amherst’s hero. She comes up with a plan to finance Pavleck’s gym on her own by selling uniforms and gymnastics lessons to local girls. She then apologizes to Ben and retains him as her assistant coach.
In the epilogue, a caption reveals that Maggie was forced to abandon her gymnastics career after becoming pregnant with Lance’s child.
- Melissa Rauch as Hope Ann Greggory
- Ellery Sprayberry as Young Hope
- Gary Cole as Stan Greggory
- Thomas Middleditch as Ben Lawfort
- Sebastian Stan as Lance Tucker
- Cecily Strong as Janice Townsend
- Haley Lu Richardson as Maggie Townsend
- Katherine Grable as the gymnastics stunt double for Maggie Townsend
On July 9, 2014, it was reported Melissa Rauch, Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, Sebastian Stan, Cecily Strong and Haley Lu Richardson had all been cast in the film, as well as that Stephanie Langhoff would produce the film under the Duplass Brothers Productions banner.
Principal photography on the film began on July 4, 2014 in Amherst, Ohio. On July 7, the crew was spotted filming at Pikewood Manor in Elyria, Ohio. Production on the film concluded on July 26, 2014. In an interview after Sundance, Rauch stated that she and Buckley trimmed scenes and restored some original story ideas for a new theatrical version.
In July 2014, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions acquired international distribution rights to the film. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2015. Shortly after, Relativity Media acquired distribution rights to the film. The film was originally scheduled for release in July 2015, and October 2015. In September 2015, it was pulled from the schedule. The same month, Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S distribution rights instead, and it was announced that Stage 6 Films would distribute the film internationally. The film was to be released in a limited release on March 11, 2016, but was delayed a week to March 18, 2016 in favor of a wide release then.
The Bronze received generally negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 32%, based on 84 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site’s consensus reads, “Enthusiastically unpleasant and mostly unfunny, The Bronze fails to stick the landing – or much else along the way.” On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 44 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.