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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 & 7 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 ...

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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 »

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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

 
A better touch to the formulaic sports movie
30 June 2019 | by proud_ludditeSee all my reviews

In 2005, Russ Sheppard (Ben Schnetzer) is a recent Canadian teaching graduate who flies to a small Inuit town in Nunavut for his first job. Trying to help the teens who have a high rate of suicide and despair, he teaches the kids lacrosse and organizes a local league.

There are moments when "The Grizzlies" feels like a formulaic sports movie though it thankfully has some unpredictable moments which fall outside that usual narrative. Also, Russ starts out as a naïve do-gooder / rescuer who is initially hard to take. But the movie wins for various reasons. The main one: it is based on a true story.

The film exposes the long-term difficulties of the community including not only the suicide rates mentioned but addiction, domestic violence, school truancy, and the legacy of the egregious residential school system. These other stories make the film gripping and moving with many emotions coming to the surface. It also provides hope in a sincere way that does not gloss over the long-term history of great struggle. As "The Grizzlies"joins the list of recent stories of First Nations histories, it is certainly more than a typical sports movie. Let's hope for more of these stories to be told.


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