The Bear | Chicago Reader

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Rated PG · 96 minutes

A 1989 adventure story about bears, produced by Claude Berri, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire), and adapted by Gerard Brach from James Oliver Curwood's novel The Grizzly King. Closer to the realities of animal behavior than what you generally find in Disney films, and aided by stunning scenery (the Bavarian Alps doubling here for British Columbia), the movie still aims for and intermittently achieves a certain anthropomorphism in the male bonding of an orphan cub and a huge grizzly, but at least they haven't learned how to ham like their Hollywood counterparts. Jack Wallace, Tcheky Karyo, and Andre Lacombe play the humans, and Annaud doesn't seem very comfortable with them; the movie is generally best when the bears are calling the shots.

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