Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Kiawentiio as Beans, Violah Beauvais as Ruby, Paulina Alexis as April and Rainbow Dickerson as Lily. Beans opens July 23 in Toronto and Vancouver cinemas, with additional cities throughout summer.

pierre dury/Courtesy of Mongrel Media

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

  • Beans
  • Directed by Tracey Deer
  • Written by Tracey Deer and Meredith Vuchnich
  • Starring Kiawentiio, Violah Beauvais and Rainbow Dickerson
  • Classification N/A; 92 minutes
  • Opens July 23 in Toronto and Vancouver cinemas, with additional cities throughout summer

Backgrounding a coming-of-age drama against the 1990 Oka Crisis in Quebec, Tracey Deer’s Beans has enjoyed a tremendous reception since premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. But while the winner of both the 2021 Canadian Screen Award for best motion picture and the CSA for best first feature film is a powerful work, it also can’t help but lean toward the predictable. This tension between originality of vision and reliance on formula is best exemplified by a mid-film pairing of scenes.

In the first, pregnant mother Lily (Rainbow Dickerson) drives her two adorable young daughters, Tekehentahkhwa, a.k.a. Beans (the young actress Kiawentiio), and Ruby (Violah Beauvais), to their home on Mohawk territory. Suddenly, their car is bombarded by stones thrown by violent, racist Quebeckers, all while the authorities stand idly by. Cutting between Lily’s tearful breakdown and Ruby cowering in the back seat, her hair sprinkled with pebbles of broken glass, Deer creates a moment of intense emotion and eternal cultural trauma, all underlined by the realization that this kind of horror actually happened, and not that long ago, either.

Story continues below advertisement

The young actor Kiawentiio as Beans.

Sebastien Raymond/Courtesy of Mongrel Media

This heart-wrenchingly effective scene is followed, though, by Beans embarking on a wild evening out with the wrong teenage crowd, which feels familiar to any number of low-budget adolescent-focused tales, even if Kiawentiio is giving the entirety of herself over to the proceedings.

When Beans works, it resonates deeply. And when it doesn’t, it’s not a tragedy – just evidence of a filmmaker finding what works for her voice and vision, and what might work better for an anticipated follow-up.

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies