Melissa Rauch and husband Winston Rauch have written their first movie together and it’s blatantly obvious that their focus on the world of gymnasts competing in the Olympics is a parallel to the Hollywood world of fame. The themes of success, fading from the limelight, and living off of one’s former glory are all highly evident in “The Bronze.” The prime issue with the film is the lead character’s so very mean-spirited that it’s difficult to find any shred of sympathy to feel towards her plight.
Sometimes living off the glory of your past is a reason to stay away from your future. This is absolutely the case for Olympic bronze medalist and former gymnast Hope Annabelle Greggory (Melissa Rauch). She’s back in her hometown, where her celebrity status is still evident, but she’s unemployed, collects an allowance from her father, Stan (Gary Cole). Hope even goes as far as stealing money from other people’s mail and bullying people into giving her free stuff.
Still harboring resentment toward her old coach, Hope is coerced into training the newest Olympic hopeful, Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson), whom Hope tries to sabotage in fear of losing her place as the town’s Olympic hero. She partners with geeky and sweet Ben Lawfort (Thomas Middleditch) to help Hope and ups her game when the threat of Olympic trainer Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan) shows up to take away everything Hope has left. Throughout all this, Hope is ungrateful, thankless, and comes off as a mean bully who throws tantrums when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants.
The film’s intent is clear, but the way it’s presented could use some polishing. The biggest issue with the film is that the lead character has no redeemable qualities. Hope is often cruel, constantly yelling at her father and bullying him, while he’s tolerated her for 12 years. She bites everyone’s heads off, has a severe sense of entitlement and unfortunately, none of her issues of struggles with her past come off as sincere because of her atrocious attitude. Rauch nails Hope’s anger and resentment, but there’s just so much of it and not much else, that when the shift finally happens and there’s a change in Hope, it’s far too late.
“The Bronze” tries so very hard to pull off funny with its one-liners, but the hateful and vicious attitude that follows the lead character around everywhere isn’t cause for sympathy. The only funny scene (and the best one) is the gymnastics sex scene between Rauch and Sebastian Stan, which generated more than a few chuckles. The film goes for a parallel of what Hollywood can be like and the need to hang onto something so tightly even when it stops you from growing as a person is more than obvious, but it’s perhaps too one the nose. Hope should have been a character who, when finally changing her tune and moving forward, could have had the audience rooting for her. But “The Bronze” is far too bitter and mean-spirited for it to come full circle.
"The Bronze" tries so very hard to pull off funny with its one-liners, but the hateful and vicious attitude that follows the lead character around everywhere isn't cause for our sympathy.