12 Best Movies on CBC Gem in Canada

Updated January 3, 2022 • Staff

CBC Gem is an awesome resource for movie lovers in Canada looking for something new to watch.

There are award-winning Canadian documentaries like There Are No Fakes, the story of First Nations artist Norval Morrisseau. There are also many comedies and dramas, such as the excellent coming-of-age story Giant Little Ones. And there are animated films, TV shows, and much more. 

Below we list our most recommended movies on CBC Gem. 

Read also:
12.

Indian Horse (2018)

This Canadian drama produced by Clint Eastwood is based on the true story of Saul Indian Horse, a famous indigenous hockey player who survived Canada’s residential school system. As recently as 1996, indigenous children were taken away from their families to attend brutal assimilation boarding schools.

Indian Horse, by virtue of being based on true events, is not an against-all-odds story. The main character goes through a series of ups and downs between the 70s and 90s, when the movie is set, which reflect the recent history of abuse that Indigenous communities suffered in Canada.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ajuawak Kapashesit, Forrest Goodluck, Martin Donovan, Michael Murphy, Michiel Huisman, Sladen Peltier
Director: Stephen S. Campanelli
Rating: Not Rated
Go to Cbcgem Canada
11.

The Grizzlies (2020)

This uplifting Canadian sports drama is based on a true story set in the remote Nunavut town of Kugluktuk. The small community has the highest teen suicide rate in North America, as it suffers from intergenerational trauma, and the resulting alcohol and drug abuse. A new young history teacher who is sent by the government is shocked by the state of the school and the lives of the teenagers. He realizes that he can't engage the kids with history, and turns to his passion for Lacrosse to try to ignite change.

The teacher and director of the movie are both white, which, added to the story, raise red flags about white savior tropes. But thanks to First Nation producers who made sure the kids had time to develop their characters, The Grizzlies narrowly misses disaster. Instead, it gives a voice to communities that are rarely heard from. 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ben Schnetzer, Booboo Stewart, Eric Schweig, Fred Bailey, Jack Anawak, Seth Burke, Tantoo Cardinal, Will Sasso
Director: Miranda de Pencier
Rating: R
Go to Cbcgem Canada
10.

Human Flow (2017)

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei directs his attention towards the ongoing refugee crisis, the biggest displacement of people since World War II. His documentary is apolitical and tries to focus on the human side of the picture. It's not a news report or a commentary on the causes of the situation. Instead, it's a combination of heartfelt stories spanning 23 countries that showcase people's battle for dignity and basic rights. A truly epic movie complemented by impressive drone footage that's as impressive as it is sad.

Genre: Documentary
Actor: Fadi Abou Akleh, Hiba Abed, Israa Abboud, Rami Abu Sondos
Director: Ai Weiwei, Weiwei Ai
Rating: PG-13
Go to Cbcgem Canada
9.

Stories We Tell (2012)

Stories We Tell got on everyone’s radar when, back in 2015, it made the list of the all-time top ten list of Canadian films. That speaks to both the caliber of this movie and its relevance to North America. It’s in fact a first-person account about (and made by) actress Sarah Polley (Mr. Nobody, Exotica, Away from Her, Take This Waltz). In the film, she investigates the rumor that she was the product of an affair, and that her father might not be her biological father. Her family and suspected fathers are all storytellers, and many of them Academy Award winners. Ultimately, the movie becomes about her family’s remembrance of her now-deceased mother (the famous actress Diane Polley). It’s an examination of how the same story can be told so differently by different people and across time. Lies get added and truths are hidden, and all of that enriches Polley’s pursuit.

Genre: Documentary
Actor: Alex Hatz, Allie MacDonald, Christine Horne, John Buchan, Mark Polley, Michael Polley, Sarah Polley, Thomas Hauff, Tom Butler
Director: Sarah Polley
Rating: PG-13
Go to Cbcgem Canada
8.

Maudie (2016)

This moving biopic is about Maud Lewis, the legendary Canadian painter who suffered from arthritis. In the film, Maud gets away from her controlling family by finding a job as a live-in housekeeper for a local fish peddler. It is there where she begins to paint, before marrying the fish peddler in spite of their different personalities. Sally Hawkins, who plays Lewis, brings undeniable spark and soul to the role, for which she had to undergo an astonishing physical transformation.

Maudie is a beautiful and uncomplicated film that challenges the conventions of marriage and relationship roles, while at the same time celebrating Maud Lewis’ paintings and life’s simple pleasures.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Billy MacLellan, Ethan Hawke, Gabrielle Rose, Kari Matchett, Kate Ross, Sally Hawkins, Zachary Bennett
Director: Aisling Walsh
Rating: PG-13
Go to Cbcgem Canada
7.

Kuessipan (2019)

This coming-of-age drama set near Sept-Îles in Quebec, Canada is about two indigenous Innu best friends who grow up together. One day, one of them meets a white guy and starts planning a life with him, which is seen by both her best friend and her community as a rupture with them.

“If everybody did the same thing you’re doing, we wouldn’t exist,” her friend tells her. Kuessipan is about that intersection between friends growing apart and indigenous identity, all set in the backdrop of Canadian reserve life. Won the Grand Prix at the Québec City Film Festival.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Brigitte Poupart
Director: Myriam Verreault
Go to Cbcgem Canada
6.

Giant Little Ones (2018)

An insightful and thoughtful Canadian coming-of-age drama, Giant Little Ones is about two seventeen-year-old best friends whose relationship changes after an incident one night. Spanning a quick 90 minutes, it manages to tell its story quickly and honestly, as it touches on themes of sexual identity not only for the teenagers but for their parents as well. And it has a great message about tolerance. It's a lovely and wholesome movie. 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Carson MacCormac, Cory Lee, Darren Mann, Hailey Kittle, Jeff Clarke, Josh Wiggins, Kiana Madeira, Kyle MacLachlan, Maria Bello, Niamh Wilson, Olivia Scriven, Peter Outerbridge, Stephanie Moore, Taylor Hickson
Director: Keith Behrman
Rating: R
Go to Cbcgem Canada
5.

The Grand Seduction (2013)

The Grand Seduction, a remake of 2003 French-Canadian film La Grande Séduction (2003), is a lighthearted comedy about the residents of the small fishing village of Tickle Head, Newfoudland attempting to convince a young doctor to become its long-term caregiver in order to secure a contract for a new petrochemical facility. Desperate to guide the town out of its impoverished conditions and lack of employment opportunities, the citizens band together to pull ever bit out of deceit and chicanery out of their hats (in often laugh-out-loud fashion) in order to sway the young doctor Paul (Taylor Kitsch) into believing that Tickle Head is where he belongs. It’s a lighthearted and funny story, despite undeniably familiar shades of The Shipping News, Doc Hollywood and Funny Farm. Brendan Gleeson is particularly good as the new mayor of town and Paul’s head “seducer”. He gives the film that extra bit of humanity and wry humor that lifts it above the familiar plot points and into “notable recommendation” territory.

Genre: Comedy
Actor: Brendan Gleeson, Cathy Jones, Gordon Pinsent, Kevin Lewis, Liane Balaban, Margaret Killingbeck, Mark Critch, Mary Walsh, Matt Watts, Michael Therriault, Percy Hynes White, Peter Keleghan, Steve O'Connell, Taylor Kitsch
Director: Don McKellar
Rating: PG-13
Go to Cbcgem Canada
4.

Still Mine (2012)

A slice-of-life true-story-based film on growing old and in love. When on his own land, Craig Morrison (played by James Cromwell) starts building a more convenient house for his ailing wife Irene (Geneviève Bujold), he is faced with crippling bureaucracy. The state gives him the choice between stopping the construction or going to jail, while he is witnessing his wife's health deteriorating even further. The act of going against the system brings out both how beautiful his relationship with his wife is, as well as his own resilience in this moving, insightful drama.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Barbara Gordon, Campbell Scott, Chris Farquhar, Chuck Shamata, Geneviève Bujold, George R. Robertson, James Cromwell, Joe Pingue, Jonathan Potts, Rick Roberts, Ronan Rees, Zachary Bennett
Director: Michael McGowan
Rating: PG-13
Go to Cbcgem Canada
3.

The Trotsky (2009)

A fantastic and light Canadian comedy, the Trotsky stars Jay Baruchel as Leon Bronstein, a young man who believes himself to be the reincarnation of the Soviet leader Leon Trotsky. True to his past life, Leon soon begins a quest to organize a revolution at his father's clothing company, while dealing with the transition from ritzy private to a Montreal public school. Smart and pointed, the Trotsky is a gem not to be missed.

Genre: Comedy
Actor: Alain Goulem, Angela Galuppo, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Cecile Cristobal, Colm Feore, Dan Beirne, David Julian Hirsh, Emily Hampshire, Geneviève Bujold, Hélène Bourgeois Leclerc, Jacob Tierney, Jay Baruchel, Jesse Camacho, Jesse Rath, Jessica Paré, Kaniehtiio Horn, Kyle Gatehouse, Liane Balaban, Michael Murphy, Pat Kiely, Paul Doucet, Paul Spence, Ricky Mabe, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Saul Rubinek, Taylor Baruchel, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Trevor Hayes
Director: Jacob Tierney
Rating: Unrated
Go to Cbcgem Canada

More lists