The small town Beartown is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees surrounding it. The local hero and former hockey star Peter comes home to Beartown to build the junior team and secure the town’s future. Carrying the entire town’s hopes on their shoulders is a heavy burden for Beartown’s boys. When the team’s young star is accused of a horrible act, it leaves the town in chaos, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, the courage it takes for an individual to go against the group and the consequences of how we raise our children.
The series is directed by Peter Grönlund, and written by Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk and Linn Gottfridsson.
“Brilliant Swedish series. /…/ A captivating story. /…/ From the first scene where someone is chased through the forest in heavy snow with a rifle, the tone is set in the series, and you realize that it is about more than just ice hockey. And that nerve and tension remains until the very end.”
“From humanistic sports drama about unfavored fighters in a small community in line with American Friday Night Lights and Norwegian Home Ground, with an added dark, cold and alluring Nordic noir atmosphere to a suspenseful assault drama. It is extremely effective.”
“The best Swedish series right now. /… / So well acted and engaging that you can feel the ice burn in your cheeks.”
“Beartown is a home run. Hallelujah! HBO Nordics’ Beartown, based on Fredrik Backman’s novel, is unquestionably the best Swedish TV series of the year so far. /…/ The result is outstanding. A Swedish production that is strong, heavy and beautiful like a bear, with high quality in every aspect and a tight hold of the viewer from start to finish. /…/ An immersive, close-to-perfect depiction of macho culture, peer pressure and the double-edged small-town mentality that can be both cohesive and destructive. ”
“Chilling drama from start to finish. The grand scale production Beartown is a well-made series about ice hockey and destructive masculinity.”
“Chilling drama from start to finish. In an expensive and well-acted film adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s Beartown, toxic masculinity and ice hockey culture is depicted with sharp precision. /…/ [An] icy thriller. The series is sumptuous and well-acted and its true grace is that it feels realistic and elevated at once. Whilst you unequivocally sense the odor in the junior team’s locker room, there is also a clear fictional framework for the story. /…/ It creates a rewarding suspense that perdures as the diabolic web that the script writers have woven around the ill-equipped Peter is slowly tightened.”
One of this year’s best Swedish TV experiences. /…/ With Beartown, Peter Grönlund and the screenwriters Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk and Linn Gottfridsson succeed in crafting a moral story that never runs out of steam. /…/ Big parts of the series feel like highly credible pieces cut from reality.
“By the time Beartown drops its bombshell, the scene feels both inevitable and crushing. But 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”
“Beartown on HBO Max is an outstanding, unsparing work that transcends Scandinavian noir.”
“Beartown is consistently entertaining, interesting, and rewarding to watch, always keeping viewers on the edge of their seats in preparation – and dread – to see what exactly is going to happen next. /…/ It’s the combination of the adaptation of the novel, Peter Grönlund’s well-done direction and some excellent performances, particularly from its main stars, that makes Beartown a winner.”
“Beartown is a chilling interrogation of the power we give young, athletic men. /…/ The series’ creators stripped Beartown of the melodrama that’s often inherent to stories centered on teenagers, and of the salaciousness that lesser series lean on when writing about sex crimes. In its place, they revealed a narrative that’s chilling in its survey of how we can lose what makes of human in the pursuit of a win.”
“That 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.”
“HBO’s gutting hockey drama hits hard against rape culture. /…/ Director Peter Grönlund and writers Anders Weidemann, Antonia Pyk, and Linn Gottfridsson take the necessary time to show how sports culture envelops the town. They even manage to get you caught up in the stakes of individual games, while simultaneously emphasizing how a fixation on wins and losses defines the young lives of current players.”
“Stunning examination of rape and toxic masculinity. /…/ The series proves instantly gripping, thanks to vivid storytelling that lays out the interpersonal dynamics of its many players. /…/ With blood-boiling accuracy, it takes direct aim at the sorts of environments that cultivate and embolden ugly male ideas about their own preeminent self-worth.”
“A brilliant, bracing hockey drama that resonates hard. /…/ For all its elements of disillusion and despair, it is thrilling, wrenching drama, at timesunforgettable, like the best of hockey can be, even while human nature drags it down to the worst of us.”
“Who will have the strength of character to stand by the victim of the rape against the massed hostility of the players and their supporters, who have determined the accuser is a liar and a slut out to ruin their star? The answers to these questions emerge with a satisfying subtlety in Beartown—for all its familiarity, a riveting tale.”
“Beartown /…/ takes the honesty of Friday Night Lights to an even deeper and much darker level. [Beartown] floored me with its realism, as it digs into the people of a struggling community.”
“Ulf Stenberg is brilliant.”
“Sharpen you ice skates… And get ready to get tackled and pinched.”
“Engaging and sparks emotions.”
“A dazzlingly beautiful, melancholic drama about a girl, a boy and a society that is complex, yet clear. A story about how adults’ expectations and assertedgood intentions can lay the basis for something horrific.”
“Lives up to the expectations and a little more. /… / An awfully well-made series. /… / The fifty minutes long episodes feel authentic straight through. /… / One of the best Swedish series of the year and the most interesting I have watched in a long time.”
“A series with absolute pitch for authenticity.”
- Anders Weidemann