Pour Toujours les Canadiens

As part of the Montreal Canadiens 100th anniversary this film was produced. It is a family drama that focuses on how important the hockey team is to seemingly everyone in this city. The film should be of interest to hockey buffs and cinephiles.

Daniel (Antoine L'Ecuyer – C'est Pas Moi, Je le Jure!) is a 10-year-old who is having a rough start in life. He is quite ill and is living in the Montreal Children's Hospital while he waits for a kidney donor for a transplant. No one is especially hopeful that this is going to happen. Daniel gets through the days and nights partially due to his love for the famed Montreal Canadiens. Thankfully, he has the very compassionate Michelle as his nurse, who understands how important this hockey team is to her young patient.

Michelle (Celine Bonnier – Maman est chez le coiffeur, Un dimanche a Kigali) is the mother of 17-year-old William (Dhanae Audet-Beaulieu), a potentially great hockey player who is having a hard time adjusting to his new team, College Français. Besides being given a hard time by his coach (Real Bosse – Nitro, Gaz Bar Blues) and the captain of the team, William doesn't feel like he is getting any support from his father (Stephane Jacques – Shall We Dance, Camping Sauvage), who is wrapped up in his job. William's father is a director who is in the midst of shooting a film about the history of the Montreal Canadiens.

Daniel and William meet at the hospital and become friends. It is a friendship that becomes very important to William and gives him some perspective about what is important in life.

The intertwining of the story of a sick young boy, a young talented hockey player who is a little lost and the storied Montreal Canadiens franchise seems like a natural one in Jacques Savoie's screenplay. Nothing feels forced in this heartwarming and at times touching family film.

While watching it I could picture generations of the same family coming together to watch "Pour Toujours les Canadiens", which is not something you can say about many films. Besides the touching story of the young boy Daniel the Canadiens fans out there should be interested in the archival footage that is part of the film. Many of the stars of the team from Guy Lafleur, Maurice Richard and even Howie Morenz have their moments of glory in the film.

A treat is that Jean Beliveau plays himself in the film as well as several present and former Habs players, like Carey Price, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek, and Francis Bouillon, have small parts in the film. One Habs star I was quite impressed with was former captain Saku Koivu. He plays himself in the film and does a good job. Now, that might seem like a strange thing to say – shouldn't everyone be able to play themselves well? The short answer is no. Many athletes have tried it before and failed miserably. They are athletes and not actors. Koivu brings a presence and authenticity to the story. The film made me realize even more that this guy was someone who Montreal fans underappreciated during his time here. He is truly a man of substance.

Though the story is a fictional one it seems like it could have happened many times during the 100 years that the Canadiens have been around. They are that important to the Montreal community. So much so that you almost believe that they might have played a role in many miracles happening in the city.

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