In 2004, Hope Annabelle Greggory (Melissa Rauch) won the Olympic bronze medal in gymnastics, becoming the pride of her hometown of Amherst, Ohio. Although her gymnastics career ended due to injury, Hope still cashes in on her 15 minutes of fame, despite her father’s (Gary Cole) desire for her to move on with her life. After her old coach unexpectedly commits suicide, Hope is encouraged to coach young new gymnast Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson) for the upcoming games in Toronto, with the promise that Hope will receive a $500,000 inheritance if she does. While initially planning to sabotage Maggie’s career and take the money, Hope begins to find herself again while also developing a relationship with her assistant coach Ben Lawfort (Thomas Middleditch).
The Bronze is a dark comedy co-written by and starring comedian Melissa Rauch, who is probably best known for her role as Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on the sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Rauch’s role in The Bronze is an about-turn from her sitcom character, with Hope Annabelle Greggory being a disagreeable, selfish, foul-mouthed woman who continues to milk her status as a hometown hero despite more than a decade passing since her Olympic medal. Hope reluctantly agrees to coach young gold medal prospect Maggie Townsend, which raises the ire of U.S. Team coordinator Lance Tucker (Sebastian Stan), a former gold- and silver-winning gymnast who believes it is ridiculous that Hope receives praise for coming in third place.
It probably says a lot that the most notable element of The Bronze is an incredibly acrobatic sex scene, which really needs to be seen to be believed. While the scene is less than five minutes long and has very little to do with the actual story of the film, it probably ends up being the primary reason to see this dark comedy. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with The Bronze—it is, in fact, a perfectly fine film. However, the film doesn’t have much substance going for it other than Melissa Rauch playing a selfish ex-gymnast who makes very liberal use of the F-word and slowly learns to become a better person.
While there are some highlights, such as Hope teaching Maggie how to do cute poses for the judges, Rauch’s shtick gets a bit repetitive at times and her romantic subplot with Thomas Middleditch’s Ben comes across as typical rom-com fare. However, the film does prove that Sebastian Stan (Captain America) is great at playing absolutely despicable jerks.