Bones of Crows



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94% · 18 reviews
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 162 162

Plot summary

Cree matriarch Aline Spears survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism, and sexual abuse. She uses her uncanny ability to understand and translate codes into working for a special division of the Canadian Air Force as a Cree code talker in World War II. The story unfolds over 100 years with a cumulative force that propels us into the future.

July 21, 2023 at 12:28 AM


Marie Clements

Top cast

Karine Vanasse as Sister Ruth
Cara Gee as Percy Whallach
Tanaya Beatty as Taylor
Glen Gould as Matthew Spears
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.16 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 9 min
P/S ...
2.38 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 9 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Brittany224622 9 / 10

Amazing film about dark history of the residential school system

I saw this movie at Tiff last night. Wow, what a truly moving, emotional master piece. From the acting to storytelling to how it was edited this film is truly impactful. It brings insights into the brutal, horrendous acts carried about by the church on innocent young indigenous children who were taken from their homes and places in the residential school system. A dark history in Canada that NEEDS to be told. The performances from Grace Dove was powerful. I encourage anyone to go out and see this film. It was a movie that needed to made with a story that not everyone knows about. I am excited to see what Marie Clements next ventures are.

Reviewed by steiner-sam 8 / 10

Powerful, but "Indian Horse" tells a more cohesive story

It's a drama about the Indian residential school system in Canada. It begins in Manitoba but includes Montreal, Toronto, and London, England. It extensively uses flashbacks from the 1880s, the 1930s to about 1970, and then to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission period.

The film details the multi-generational impact of the residential school system, using the family of a Cree woman, Aline Spears (Summer Testawich/Grace Dove/Carla-Rae). We see her happy early home life in an indigenous Catholic home, her removal to a residential school near Brandon, Manitoba, and her experiences there. Also taken to the school are her sister, Perseverance (Sierra Rose/Alyssa Wapanatâhk), and her brothers, Johnny (Ethan Evans) and Tye (Payne Merasty). We learn the impact of the school on all the Spears children, including Tye and Perseverance. Staff at the Catholic residential include Father Jacobs (Rémy Girard), Sister Ruth (Karine Vanasse), and Thomas Miller (Jonathan Whitesell/Patrick Garrow)

Interspersed are Aline's experiences in the Canadian Forces as a code talker who helped translate military messages transmitted in Cree back into English. We meet her Cree husband, Adam Whallach (Phillip Lewitski), who goes off to war simultaneously. The film shows his service's impact and his reception upon returning home after the war. We also meet Aline's children and see her participation in a First Nations visit to the Pope in 2009, with some startling revelations.

"Bones of Crows" is tough to watch. It reminded me of the film "Indian Horse," but it tries to pack in even more content, which leaves the viewer jerked about with the many storylines. However, it's also potent, especially in the Aline portrayed by Grace Dove. She is excellent, as is Michelle Thrush, who represents her mother.

A White Canadian can only feel shame leaving this film. The very prominent Christian cross is thoroughly sullied. I think "Bones of Crows" becomes too didactic at the end; it should have left the viewer to marinate in the story without the additional testimonies.

Reviewed by TheAnimalMother 2 / 10

Touchy Subject Matter, Told With A Very Narrow, Almost Cartoon-Like Point Of View

Catholic school in the old days was not fun to say the least. Residential schools had to be as bad as any of the time, at least in this area of the world. There are countless tragic and horrific stories about them, and certainly they are to be respected. However this film is somewhat dishonest and irresponsible in my view.

The narrative here really ventures into silliness in terms of the overdramatics, and in so loosely throwing around groundless accusations with the claim of true events behind it. It also embraces the racist victim mindset far too much. If this really was 'systematic racism' as the film claims, and a common political narrative of our time also often says; Then why do white people of many European cultures all across this country have many of the very same kinds of stories? The only main difference I see in the stories is that some native groups/organizations claim it was racist. The white people just claim that they were abused. Of course, if you can pin it on the government in terms of being systematic abuse, then the narrative is perhaps worth billions in a transfer of tax dollars. Especially when certain political parties are in power. Sad! It is in my view, as a person with native blood myself, very offensive and sick to say the least. We are no more victims than the vast majority of common people. Grow up! It is exactly stories told like this that will continue to lend support to the notion that natives are lazy and mooches, or even thieves of modern Canadian society.

My message to all the natives out there is simply this. It doesn't matter what people say or think. Find your own way, find your own true voice. If you do it with honor, you're sure to live a life of joy and wonder. This story would've been fine if it stayed true to itself. The story of abuse would've been fine without the false accusations and extensive overdramatics, and the overly cartoonish portrayals of the natives versus the whites.

Sadly, I have to consider this a betrayal to natives and to all Canadians. It is a betrayal to the human spirit really, past and present. Pretty much all common people and our ancestors are victims of past abuses, many of the very horrific sort. We shouldn't be using this for gain in any way other than to learn from it. People, without proper nurture and health; They can become monsters, especially when in places of power. This goes for people of all races and people of all sexes and classes. What is most important, is that we now appreciate what we do have, and where we can go from here.

To me, I think the mainstream media narrative today has lost the voice of the people almost completely. Too many spoiled, idealistic and very unrealistic people seem to be the loudest voices supported in the media these days. Do you not understand in how many ways our countries have moved forward in terms of the average person's rights and freedoms and opportunities? Do you not appreciate the great advancement in life longevity, education and in daily comforts, etc, etc? Lately we seem to be at war with ourselves if we listen to the media. I however do not see this out on the streets for the most part. I do see a ton of government neglect everywhere in Canada right now, but that is another story. Socially however most Canadians are still decent people who want the best for even the stranger up the street. We should be a proud people as a nation of people, all colors and all creeds. Perhaps not so proud of the government, but that doesn't mean that most of the common people are anywhere near bad. In my vast experience, there certainly are wolves out there. But for the most part, people, white or otherwise, are generally very warmhearted. And cheers to you all...


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