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The Grizzlies (2018)

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In a small Arctic town struggling with the highest suicide rate in North America, a group of Inuit students' lives are transformed when they are introduced to the sport of lacrosse.

Director:

Miranda de Pencier
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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jack Anawak Jack Anawak ... Plane Passenger
Fred Bailey Fred Bailey ... Roger
Seth Burke Seth Burke ... Johnny
Mary Buscemi Mary Buscemi ... Lenore Aviak
Tantoo Cardinal ... Janace
Mayala Chapman Mayala Chapman ... Female Townsperson #2
Christopher Church Christopher Church ... Special BG / Lacrosse
Colton Clause ... (voice)
Spencer Dewar Spencer Dewar ... RCMP Officer #2
Brad Fraser Brad Fraser ... Tanner
Ippiksaut Friesen Ippiksaut Friesen ... Town Council Member
Colton Hart Colton Hart ... Special BG / Lacrosse
Looee Ishulutaq Looee Ishulutaq ... Female Townsperson
Innosar Issakiark Innosar Issakiark ... Special BG / Lacrosse
Mary Itorcheak Mary Itorcheak ... Schoolgirl (with baby)
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Storyline

THE GRIZZLIES is an inspiring true story based on a group of Inuit students in the small Arctic town of Kugluktuk. Suffering from widespread drug use, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and one of the highest teen suicide rates in the world, this northern community is periled by the legacy of colonialism. The students are naturally skeptical when Russ Sheppard, yet another ignorant and unprepared white rookie teacher, arrives from the South on a one-year teaching contract. With much to learn, but deeply shaken by the death of one of his students, Russ introduces his class to the sport of lacrosse in an effort to help lift the dangerous fog of trauma existing in his students. While initially resistant, the students gradually come together to embrace the sport, form Team Grizzlies, and find inspiration to make shifts in their own lives. Together with Russ, the team gains the support of a deeply divided town and eventually negotiates its way to the National Lacrosse Championships in ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

Inuktitut | English

Release Date:

5 January 2019 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Trivia

The film's premiere came as a special presentation at Toronto's TIFF in September 2018. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lacrosse, life, and hunting for inspiration in the Arctic
29 September 2018 | by swinters-08600See all my reviews

Based on a true story, the Grizzlies tells the story of a young hotshot from southern Canada who heads up to the Arctic for a year to teach history to high school students in the remote Nunavut community of Kugluktuk. There he finds a group of kids who have little interest in school and are struggling to find ways just to persevere through a harsh environment beset by alcoholism, abuse, suicide, and the legacies of colonialism.

In an attempt to reach out to his students, he strikes upon the idea of starting a school lacrosse team. Once the idea starts to catch on, the young teacher learns that not everybody in the community is happy about the team, and that he might have just as much to learn from the Inuit as he has to teach them.

The Grizzlies is, at its heart, an underdog sports movie, and will thus appeal to anyone out there who likes a good sports movie. Beyond the sport of lacrosse, though, it really has a lot more to say about life itself, and the need to grind your way through its everyday struggles just to find a purpose to help keep you going. As with all good movies, it finds a way to tell a story that is both uniquely about a particular time and place and people, but still resonates with themes universal enough to be understood and deeply felt by anybody.

At various times funny, tragic, and inspiring, not everyone is going to make it through this one without shedding a few tears.

I was impressed by the film's ability to present delicate topics such as the difficulty of bridging the deep cultural divide between Canada's north and south without reducing any of its characters to stereotypes. The performances of the cast--many of whom were apparently acting in a feature film for the first time ever--were also remarkably compelling.

I honestly feel like this is the best Canadian movie I've ever seen, and one of the most touching sports movies ever made. I'd recommend this movie to anyone with a heart.


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