Published Sep 08, 2018While Canada is lacking in films that centre Indigenous communities, The Grizzlies is a story you've seen before. Russ, a young white man, goes to a small Arctic town to be a teacher in an Inuit community. Ill-equipped to relate to the kids he is teaching, he manages to win them over enough to start a lacrosse team, which in turn leads to students laying off alcohol and drug use, increased attendance, and becoming a family that work together and support each other.
Sound familiar? It's a well-worn storyline also played out in films like Freedom Writers and Dangerous Minds, both "based on a true story" as well.
The Grizzlies seems to have all the pieces in place to be a compelling narrative — stunning cinematography of the north, a killer soundtrack, and a cast of skilled actors playing complicated characters. But like so many Canadian stories about Indigenous communities, it fails to actually place Indigenous voices at the centre.