Daily | Sundance 2015 | Bryan Buckley’s THE BRONZE

The Bronze

‘The Bronze’

“If you’re feeling generous, you might pat the programmers on the back for trying their luck with a raunchy comedy like The Bronze in one of the opening night slots of the Sundance Film Festival,” begins Sarah Salovaara at Filmmaker. “But if you’re feeling frank, you may just go ahead and call this overlong Olympic satire from first time director Bryan Buckley for what it is: a solid, third tier effort…. Just purchased by Relativity for $3 million, The Bronze should nevertheless fare well commercially, with its clearly defined audience in the wings, and frankly, given the average blockbuster bromance alternative, there are worse things that could happen.”

The Bronze “stars The Big Bang Theory‘s Melissa Rauch as Hope Greggory, a venal former gymnast who still clings to the 15 minutes of fame conferred by her Olympic bronze medal,” explains Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan. “Reluctantly, Hope is forced to coach up-and-coming gymnast Maggie (Haley Lu Richardson), who idolizes her, but Hope is so threatened by Maggie’s incipient celebrity that she instead tries to sabotage the girl … until a run-in with her old rival, Olympic recruiter Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan), spurs Hope to finally shape up.”

In the Guardian, Jordan Hoffman notes that there’s “an amusing (and quite randy) sex scene that finally answers the question: ‘How do gymnasts make love?’ It’ll be well worth your time to search for this scene on YouTube in a year’s time. The rest of the picture does not make it past the elimination round.”

“What almost saves the movie—or, at the very least, prevents me from despising it as deeply as many of my fellow Sundancers do—is Rauch’s expertly abrasive performance,” writes the AV Club‘s A.A. Dowd. “The actress, who co-wrote the screenplay, delivers her barrage of vulgar insults with impeccable comedic timing. More impressively, she manages to make Hope’s burgeoning decency feel faintly credible; the character softens without seeming to become a different person. If The Bronze flops as hard with audiences as it did with last night’s press, I somehow still suspect that Rauch will emerge unscathed. She’s too good to go down with this ship.”

“Longtime commercials ace Bryan Buckley, whose Africa-set short Asad was Oscar-nominated in 2013, brings energy to his directorial feature debut but precious little style,” writes the Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy. Buckley is “more confident than most in terms of how to light, shoot and cut a first-time comedy,” grants Variety‘s Peter Debruge, “and though no one would accuse The Bronze of not being funny, it somehow manages not to be funny often enough.”

More from Erik Davis (, Sam Fragoso (, Jack Giroux (Film Stage, C), Drew McWeeney (HitFix) and Ibad Shah (Indiewire, D). Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh talks with Sebastian Stan.

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