Monkey Beach (2020)

Lisa (Grace Dove) has hit rock bottom. Living in East Vancouver has done her in, and it’s time for her to sober up. Prodded by her dead cousin Tabitha (Sera-Lys McArthur), she goes back home to Monkey Beach, where she needs to reconnect to her roots. While her parents Albert (Nathaniel Arcand) and Gladys (Stefany Mathias), are thrilled to see her, her mom is still haunted by Tabitha’s death.  Lisa’s brother Jimmy (Joel Oulette) is a swimmer sidelined by a career-ending injury. Lisa is worried about him because of disturbing visions she’s had since she was a kid, making her extra protective of him. There’s also Frank (Nick Dangeli), who always had a place for her in his heart, her uncle Mick (Adam Beach), who nurtured her militant Indigenous side, and Ma-Ma-Oo (Tina Lameman), her grandmother, who gives her hilarious but loving advice.

They’re all happy to see Lisa, but the return is overwhelming for her, including her gift to see the dead and mystical figures around her. She must find herself again, deal with family drama, her powers, and the fate of her brother Jimmy.

Monkey Beach is director Loretta Todd’s feature debut and is based on the novel of the same name by Canadian Indigenous writer Eden Robinson. With the gorgeous setting of Kitimat, British Columbia, Todd pulls great performances from the entire cast and creates a modern look at Indigenous life. This story of a soul-searching young woman will make Monkey Beach a classic fantasy drama to add to the catalogue of Indigenous cinema.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette


Adam Beach, Grace Dove, Nathaniel Arcand, Stefany Mathias

Available on:




Indigenous Stories, TIFF

Canadian connection

Directed by Loretta Todd
Kitimat, British Columbia