Arts & Culture

“Beans” Is a Must Watch Film on Community Action and Youth

Percy Bartelt, staff writer

When the rights over land are disputed between the Indigenous Mohawk community and the Canadian government, a young 12-year-old girl named Tekahentahkhwah, whom everyone calls “Beans,” played by Kiawentiio Tarbell, wants to help her community defend their land – but at what cost? She battles the inner struggles that come with maintaining childhood, as well as the pressure to grow up and toughen up from the world around her. Released on Nov. 5, this movie is based on the childhood of director Tracey Penelope Tekahentakwa Deer, who also created the drama series “Mohawk Girls” (2010). This Indigenous coming-of-age is the movie to get you inspired for true action. 

Throughout the story, Beans is battling two wars at once. She is fighting for land rights against the Canadian government – who want to build a type of resort on the land – police, forest rangers, and angry mobs from the nearby town. and the fight to prove her maturity in the tenseness of the adult world. At the same time, she is also fighting for her personal independence and trying to keep her innocence and childhood while her mother tries to push her into a private school, and while her father pressures her to toughen up. The movie is full of both heartwarming situations with Beans and her family and school friends, as well as gut-wrenching and tense situations with the slough of racist comments and overall discrimination toward her and her community, and within her social life as a growing teenager. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film. With all the hardships that this young girl went through, her character development and her overall journey through fighting for what she believes in amazed me. I was also mesmerized by her will to fight to maintain her personal identity and to have a relatively normal childhood – after all, she is still 12 years old. Hearing the dramatic reenactment of the director’s personal experience within her community and seeing that put on screen is truly inspiring, especially towards younger people. It is clear that is her intended audience – young, confident and eager people that want to somehow make a difference within the lives of the people around them.

This movie greatly shows the risks of growing up too fast. It makes sure to explain to the audience that while it is important to fight for what you believe in, it is also important to maintain your sense of self, which I think ties in to Beans’s nickname. When she would introduce herself, she first would give her birth name, and when people were seemingly put off by the difficulty, she just dismissed it and called herself “Beans” – thus sacrificing that little bit of identity just to please those around her. Truly, this movie is incredible and I implore everyone to watch it.

“Beans” is available to watch on YouTube and Amazon Prime.