Growing up in a small town can be tough. Growing up as an Indigenous girl in a community that has to fight for its land is even tougher. In Tracey Deer’s debut feature film, Beans, we follow a Mohawk girl come of age during a historical Canadian standoff.
Tekahentahkhwa, or Beans (Kiawentiio), is a good kid. She lives with her mom Lily (Rainbow Dickerson), dad Kania’Tarilo (Joel Montgrand) and little sister, Ruby (Violah Beauvais), on the Kanesatake Reserve just outside of Montreal. Her dream of going to a prestigious high school so she can be a doctor or a lawyer is a big deal, but when she sees her cousin on TV protesting the threat of a golf course expansion onto the reserve, the family gets involved and head to the protest in a show of support. When things escalate, and a police officer is killed, the community on the reserve must steel themselves for an onslaught from the surrounding town, the government and the media as a standoff emerges from rising tensions. Beans must grow up quickly and learn what it means to stand up for yourself.
Indigenous filmmaker Tracey Deer took her experiences growing up as a young Mohawk girl during the Oka Crisis to make an award-winning film about a girl watching her community stand up for their rights. It’s an invaluable perspective that combines the turmoil of becoming a teenager and the trauma of violence and racism. Beans takes the viewer right into the lives of the Mohawk community, with fantastic performances by the entire cast, especially Kiawentiio, who won’t leave a dry eye during the final frame.
Review by Carolyn Mauricette
Joel Montgrand, Kiawentiio, Rainbow Dickerson, Violah Beauvais