The Grizzlies

"Bracingly unsentimental and transcendently moving at the same time." - Hollywood Reporter

"Set in 2004 in tiny Kugluktuk, Nunavut – an isolated town with the highest suicide rate in Canada – the movie casts Pride’s Ben Schnetzer as Russ Sheppard, a young white guy who arrives in the Arctic to spend a year teaching high-school English before trading up to a cushy private school in Halifax.

"But it won’t be a free ride, as Russ is immediately confronted with a student body that’s disengaged at best and hostile at worst… and so hopeless that any setback can lead to horrific consequences. The Grizzlies doesn’t shy away from the darkness that lurks at the edges of this inspirational story. This is a movie about suicide prevention as much as it is about sports, and about generations of trauma reverberating through a community that’s long since stopped expecting anything to change. (The phrase “residential school” is spoken only once, but it resonates throughout the story.)

"The script further undercuts the white-saviour narrative by showing us how utterly at sea Sheppard is, both with the kids and with the local authorities, who are naturally disinclined to listen to the bright ideas from the naïve outsider. But he doesn’t know best; he just gets lucky, and his students are the ones doing the real work of figuring each other out and getting good enough to go to the playoffs in Toronto. And once they get there and realize they’re wildly outclassed by high-school squads, the film finds a new gear: what will it do to the Grizzlies’ hard-won sense of self if they lose?

"I’ll be honest. I thought I had this movie pegged from the poster, and in a way I did: The Grizzlies is a straight-up sports movie about a teacher, some kids and a dream. But it’s a movie that tells its story with authenticity and heart, and that makes all the difference. It scores." - NOW Magazine


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