Out on the ice with the game on the line.  That’s when Terry Sawchuk was truly alive.  His words, heard here in Goalieare totally believable, too.

"There's an awful lot of heartache here to dive into."

 Six trophies.  Four cups. 193 shutouts.  And 400 stitches to the face.  Goalie, a stunning new (and poetic) biography from Dark Star Pictures, lays it all out there in the opening few moments.  Sawchuk, a legendary hockey player, remains a titan of the sport.  Getting a handle on this legendary sports figure is something else, though.

Thankfully, the filmmaking team behind this film - which includes the incredible acting talents of Mark O’Brien, Kevin Pollak and Georgina Reilly - are all in.  And it shows.

This is a tough tale to tell and their steadfast dedication to a tale that starts in the 1930s shows with atmospheric scenes that absolutely crackle with depictions of Terry’s idolation of his hockey-playing older brother (who suddenly died of a heart attack) and the fear (and the love) for his tough working-class father.  There's an awful lot of heartache here to dive into. {googleads}

But in the few minutes that open the film - as a coroner lists all the injuries found in his autopsy - we feel the crush and hear the crunch of each stick and every puck shot toward the face of Sawchuk.  It is a poetic opening that is, at once, brutal and, of course, very meditative as Sawchuk’s life was not all roses.  This filmmaking team doesn't shy away from the nitty gritty either.  It's all here.  Every bone break; every bloody nose; every heartfelt moment on the ice.

From 1950 to 1970, Sawchuk played a total of 21 seasons for or the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers. His desire to play the game and his dedication to the sport practically bleeds through this powerful film.  Not a moment is wasted either in getting us to the heart of hockey as this tale of a man who lived and breathed the sport as a formidable goalie took pucks to the face time and time again.

Hell, we aren’t 14-minutes into the picture and Sawchuk is on the ice in his debut for the Red Wings.  Sounds quick, I know, but there is STILL a lot of story (and a hell of a lot heart) to tell as he struggles with his debut and becomes an absolute legend in the sport. Goalie

With a screenplay co-written by Adriana Mags (who also directs) and Jane Maggs, Goalie gives audiences the ups and downs of his life as he struggles - in the beginning - to pay his landlord, send money back to his parents, and so on.  Life as a professional hockey player was definitely NOT glamorous.  Hockey fans will absolutely LOVE this movie, just as I did.

Cinematographer Jason Tan works miracles on a limited budget.  His shots are layered with details and the color is aged a bit to make it look era-specific, where browns and blues rule with contrasting details.  It is a cinematic move that works in this biopic’s favor. Mags (Grown Up Movie Star, Three Chords and The Truth), in the director’s chair, settles audiences into the drama and the desire of belonging to a team with a solid handling of the material and her actors, especially O’Brien, who nails his performance as Sawchuk.  

Goalie releases in theaters on January 31 and will then be available on DVD and digital come February 25 from Dark Star Pictures.

4/5 stars




Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

Screen Formats:

Region Encoding:



MPAA Rating:
111 mins
: Adriana Maggs
Adriana Maggs, Jane Maggs
Mark O'Brien, Kevin Pollak, Georgina Reilly
: Sorts | Drama | Action
Based on the life of Terry Sawchuck.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I never did any of this for you. Or anybody"
Theatrical Distributor:
Dark Star Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 25, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Biopic of the life of legendary NHL goaltender Terry Sawchuk.