The Necessities of Life (2008)




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Movie Info

An Inuit hunter being treated for tuberculosis in a Quebec sanatorium finds his weakening will to live suddenly reinvigorated after his nurse arranges for another young Inuit to be transferred to the same hospital. It's the early years of the 1950s, and when Inuit hunter Tivii is diagnosed with tuberculosis, his only hope for survival is to travel to Quebec for treatment. His body weakened and his loved ones somewhere far away, Tivii becomes dejected by his inability to communicate with the doctors and nurses and makes the decision to welcome death. Fortunately for Tivii, his attentive nurse Carol has recognized her patient's desolation, and arranged for a young Inuit named Kaki to be transferred to the same sanatorium. Kaki is very familiar with white society, and over time he manages to help Tivii grow more comfortable with his surroundings. In exchange for Kaki's kindness, Tivii educates his newfound friend about the ways of the land and the Inuit people.


Critic Reviews for The Necessities of Life

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

A well-acted but dreary drama of clashing cultures.

Jun 30, 2010 | Full Review…

The story, scripted by Bernard Émond, is so spare, and its world is so bleak, that Ungalaaq's performance seems to take place in a void.

Jan 2, 2018 | Full Review…

This gorgeous and affecting drama makes a strong case for the simple restorative power of communication.

Apr 15, 2010 | Rating: 4/5

Combines poignancy with realism for a touching yet not overly sentimental exploration of an Inuit man and boy's deep need for family and tradition in a Quebec TB ward.

Dec 2, 2009 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Necessities of Life


A great bit of film making that truly makes one reflect on one's definition of civilization and the true society to bring out happiness.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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