Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Click here for a Sydney Film Festival sneak peek with Festival Director Nashen Moodley!x
review, The Grizzlies, The, Grizzlies, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Ben Schnetzer, Emerald Macdonald, Booboo Stewart, Paul Nutarariaq, Ricky Marty-Pahtaykan, Tantoo Cardinal, Eric Schweig, Will Sasso, Anna Lambe, Fred Bailey, Miranda De Pencier, Biography, Drama, True Story film rating

THE GRIZZLIES

★★★

FREEDOM WRITERS MEETS MIGHTY DUCKS

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Joel Kalkopf
18th March 2021

I watched the trailer for 'The Grizzlies', and there was one fear that wouldn't escape my mind - that this was going to be a run-of-the-mill story of a white man going into an underprivileged school or community and saving the day. Well, I was half-right. Based on a remarkable true story, 'The Grizzlies' might hit all the beats one can expect from a film of this nature, but rest assured, here is a story and an emotional arc that certainly doesn't make the white male "northerner" out to be the hero.

Miranda de Pencier's directorial debut 'The Grizzlies' takes place in the small town of Kugluktuk, a region of Nunavut that's home to an Inuit community. A title card appears at the very beginning, warning audiences in advance that Nunavut has the highest rate of suicide in North America. An alarming and shocking statistic, and it's almost immediately in the film where we first see those effects. Cut to an aeroplane journey over the barren arctic lands where we meet Russ (Ben Schnetzer, 'Pride'), a new grad teacher with a can-do attitude and a never-say-die smile. Russ is on a short-term placement to teach history to the kids here before going on to bigger and better things, but he's met with the cruel reality that these kids have bigger problems. Russ is ignorant and self-righteous, and whilst in fairness he tries his best, the burdens and set way of life of his students begin to weigh on him as he is confronted with rough home lives, abuse and alcohol issues.

Drowning under the ferocity of his situation, Russ turns to the only tool he has in his toolkit, and he decides to introduce lacrosse to the kids in town. This is, of course, met at first with trepidation, skittishness, and an overwhelming sense of distaste towards an outsider's sport. Despite all the various challenges he faces, Russ manages to bring hope and joy to these kids, resulting in a genuine feelgood film.

When Russ is on the plane to his destination, he turns to one of the passengers and asks how long he's lived there. "6,000 years," is the response, and while it plays for laughs, it's clear that viewers will be invited into a community that very few people know about, one that has tried to uphold its culture through years of colonisation. Unfortunately, it's said appropriation that has led to all the issues this community now faces, and de Pencier does an exceptional job of highlighting the strength of the community against the backdrop of issues. This could so easily have been a "white saviour" film, but actually, it's only when Russ includes the community and gives them a platform by stepping back himself that his project takes off.

It isn't Russ or his assistant coach and maths teacher Mike (Will Sasso, 'The Three Stooges') that save the day - and likewise, it isn't the hard-nosed principal and main adversary Janace (Tantoo Cardinal, 'Dances With Wolves') that is the biggest stumbling block. There is practically no nuance to this film in terms of plot points, beats or structure, but there is plenty when it comes to the community. de Pencier saves 'The Grizzlies' from being a poor man's 'Remember The Titans' by not being afraid to address the issues at hand. There are real problems at the forefront of this film; problems that deeply affect both students and teachers alike, and due to the depth of the characters and the impact of their stories, audiences are forced to sympathise.

Despite all the various challenges Russ faces, he manages to bring hope and joy to these kids, resulting in a genuine feel-good film.

The magnitude of Russ' mistakes are felt, and you can't help as a viewer to worry about every individual. These kids are starving, they are lost and dangerously, they see no hope in sight. Russ' introduction of lacrosse might give them a platform to thrive, but it's the sense of purpose and fulfilment that really drives the success story. de Pencier is careful not to give the appearance there is nothing for this community to look forward to, but the reality is that through team sports they have a reason to keep on going, even when that entails becoming Inuit hunters. Their way of life is no less important, but how they see and support each other might be the difference between life and death.

In order to play lacrosse, these kids are making significant sacrifices, and some of those will catch up with them, and all of those will define them. 'The Grizzlies' might be incredibly tacky to the point that I sometimes even rolled my eyes, but the heart of this story absolutely shines through. It really loses its way when it tries to be an inspirational sports drama, but when it focuses on the Inuit community, its people, and the troubles they face, this film gives you every reason to smile and even shed a tear.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 18/03/2021
RUN TIME: 1h 42m
CAST: Ben Schnetzer
Emerald Macdonald
Booboo Stewart
Paul Nutarariaq
Ricky Marty-Pahtaykan
Tantoo Cardinal
Eric Schweig
Will Sasso
Anna Lambe
Fred Bailey
DIRECTOR: Miranda De Pencier
WRITERS: Graham Yost
Moira Walley-Beckett
PRODUCERS: Damon D'oliveira
Zanne Devine
Miranda De Pencier
Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
Stacey Aglok Macdonald
www.thegrizzliesmovie.com.au
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Buckley's Chance - Take a chance on this Aussie fish-out-of-water story
TRENDINGWIN BUCKLEY'S CHANCETake a chance on this Aussie fish-out-of-water story
Cranston Academy: Monster Zone - A fun-filled animated adventure for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN CRANSTON ACADEMY: MONSTER ZONEA fun-filled animated adventure for the whole family
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
From the Vine - Finding your roots in your family
TRENDINGWIN FROM THE VINEFinding your roots in your family
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Perfect Secret - Seven friends with alcohol and secrets - let the games begin!
TRENDINGTHE PERFECT SECRETSeven friends with alcohol and secrets - let the games begin!
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - 25 years of Disney's 'Out There' musical masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME25 years of Disney's 'Out There' musical masterpiece
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Night Shift - A promising premise that lets you down
TRENDINGNIGHT SHIFTA promising premise that lets you down
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!