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Perhaps "Beartown" is too blunt in its execution, too familiar in its narrative arcs, but it's also wise enough to acknowledge those traits are also part of its tragedy.
Takes the honesty of Friday Night Lights to an even deeper and much darker level. The five-part drama, based on the 2017 novel by Fredrik Backman, floored me with its realism, as it digs into the people of a struggling community.
...the show distinguishes itself much earlier-as a patient portrait of a stiflingly small place with a long memory; an investigation into the perils of masculinity; an icy Scandinavian take on Friday Night Lights...
The main cast members are smartly written and deliver powerful, intimate performances that fully communicate the story's complexity.
For all its elements of disillusion and despair, it is thrilling, wrenching drama, at times unforgettable, like the best of hockey can be, even while human nature drags it down to the worst of us.
It makes no difference in the consistent power of Beartown... that every crucial element of its drama, every crisis, every resolution, is familiar and entirely predictable. There are reasons films like this keep showing up.
The chilly HBO adaptation about a small Swedish town and its hockey team examines what happens to a community when its systems are confronted by the chaos they've helped to create.
I think I got so hung up on the intimate depictions of these characters and the warmth of Backman's writing that I missed the overarching theme of Beartown so successfully distilled by a five-episode HBO series.
The ability to communicate to the audience that there's more at stake than just a hockey game or a season is what will make viewers continue to watch Beartown - though the hockey scenes aren't bad, either.
Despite its predatory namesake, Beartown is more like a set of some small creature's footprints in the snow: there and then gone, leaving only the most minor and fleeting impression.
By being a sports drama that spends equal time both on the rink and off the rink, the series is able to capture the viewer's attention - and keep it, in a variety of ways.
Audience Reviews for Beartown: Season 1
Mar 22, 2021It was out of line with the story
Mar 21, 2021Made me seethe with anger.
Mar 16, 2021If you have read the book and loved it, this series will just upset you. I started watching it excited to see Beartown come to life, well 20 minutes in there were so many differences I had to turn it off from how annoying it was. Maybe if you haven't read the book it would be worth a watch since in general Scandinavian TV series are some of the best.
Mar 11, 2021So far, so good. Very bleak. Excellent acting throughout.
Mar 02, 2021I posted a 2-star review initially but tried again when I was in a quieter slower mood--and like it a lot. It's not a series you can 1/2 watch while doing other things--you do need to focus on it. Not because it's complicated or difficult to follow, but because it is so slow many American's minds will wander and they'll start to multitask and end up missing important nuances. The plot is compelling, characters well-drawn, good acting and direction. So if you are in the mood to wrap yourself in a blanket with a cup of tea to watch a pretty interesting drama in grim gloomy freezing cold dark Sweden you may enjoy Beartown as much as I ultimately did.