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film review

Goalie is about the life of legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk.Courtesy of Mongrel

Goalie

Written by: Adriana Maggs, Jane Maggs

Directed by: Adriana Maggs

Starring: Mark O’Brien, Kevin Pollak, Georgina Reilly

Classification: 14A; 111 minutes

Rating:

3.5 out of 4 stars

Goalie is the ruggedly elegiac biopic of the troubled NHL great Terry Sawchuk. It opens with the autopsy of the man, who died in 1970 at age 40. Every puck-made scar on his face is noted and catalogued, but other wounds are not as obvious. Directed by Adriana Maggs, the feature is based in part on Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, written by her father, Randall Maggs. We see flashback scenes of Sawchuk as a sensitive boy forever hardened and hurt by early tragedies.

Sawchuk played through injuries, including a childhood elbow trauma that chronically flared.Courtesy of Mongrel

A drinker and a brooder as an adult, he’s drawn to the brotherhood of the team. His relationship with Detroit Red Wings general manager Jack Adams (played by Kevin Pollak) is complicated. A marriage doesn’t completely take.

Director Maggs tells a tough, sympathetic story in an imaginative way that makes Goalie feel like a war story. The hockey action has a CBC veneer, but the documentary-style interviews with actors portraying former referee Red Storey and others are an excellent, authentic touch. Afraid of being replaced, Sawchuk played through injuries, including a childhood elbow trauma that chronically flared. “When a bone doesn’t set right," his wife tells him, "it will hurt forever.” Such a sad thing.

Goalie opens March 1