Polar Bear (2022) Movie Script

It's the place where childhood
and memory live together.
But the home of my childhood is changing.
The ice we depend on is melting away.
My cub and I are in uncharted waters.
I was born in an ice cave,
high in the mountains.
But the frozen ocean, the sea ice,
was our home.
Here is where my earliest memories are.
Playing with my best friend,
my twin brother.
And she was never far from us.
Our protector.
Our mother.
I was stronger than my brother.
More curious.
But he was the independent one.
I always followed Mom's lead.
And there was a whole world
she wanted to show us.
There was so much to learn here.
She was our only teacher.
I copied everything she did.
I didn't know it, but we were hunting...
for something.
For a smell.
-A smell under the ice.
Whatever it was, it smelled good.
My brother was ready to attack, too...
-Me, usually.
Mom just kept pounding through the ice.
I wanted to help her, but...
I was busy.
Then suddenly,
the whole thing became clear.
We were seal hunting.
Well, Mom was seal hunting.
She was our hero.
We would've followed her anywhere.
And we needed to.
Male bears spend all winter roaming
the ice, and are very, very hungry.
My brother and I would make an easy meal.
So Mom led us to the ice edge,
to the open ocean.
The problem was,
we didn't know how to swim.
We'd never even been in the water before.
It was freezing.
And the only dry land in sight was Mom.
She knew we weren't going to learn
to swim like this.
And there was good reason
to keep paddling.
Finally, a place to rest... I thought.
And I was wrong.
When my brother and I could swim no more,
she led us ashore.
I've never been happier to be bitten
and tugged by the scruff of the neck.
We were safe.
Now we could rest.
Every spring,
as the sun climbs higher in the sky,
the days become longer and warmer.
Our world of solid ice
starts to break apart.
I learned this was the natural way
of things.
But this new, broken, shifting ground
was hard to get used to.
Keeping up with Mom was not easy.
One small step for her
was a giant leap for us.
And now, for the first time, she would
leave my brother and me on our own.
She had a new mission.
I watched her as she silently disappeared,
becoming one with the ice floes.
Master of the stalk.
Mom knew, from experience,
her only chance at grabbing a seal
was when it was up on an ice floe.
As soon as it was in the water,
she wouldn't be able to catch it.
There wasn't much for us to do.
We just waited for her to return.
But she didn't return.
She kept on hunting.
Mom caught many seals that first summer.
We were well fed and wanted for nothing.
Back then, life on our frozen
ocean home felt secure.
Today, the sea ice we once called home
is disappearing.
Seals need the sea ice to breed.
We need seals to hunt.
We are ice bears.
How are we to survive without ice?
Our mother kept us safe and warm
that first long winter.
Other than the lights
that danced in the sky,
it was total darkness
for half of the year.
I thought the sun had gone forever.
I remember the day it finally reappeared.
My brother and I loved the sunshine.
We could go and explore again.
But Mom was going to put
all that energy to use.
She had a busy spring planned for us.
Spring is when we need to catch nearly all
our food for the entire year...
and quickly.
Soon, most of the sea ice will disappear,
and with it, the seals.
This year, Mom would expect a lot from us.
She wanted us to really understand
seal hunting.
No more spectating in between
wrestling matches.
I also learned to never drop my guard.
Males were an ever-present threat.
And this one caught us
completely by surprise.
He was hungry, determined, and relentless.
There is no safe distance
from a male ice bear.
But there is safe ice.
And Mom knew how to find it.
She followed the cracks that led
to the edge of the sea ice.
It was so thin here, a large male bear
would fall right through.
Most importantly, for my brother and me,
we could play together.
In those days, every moment out on
the sea ice taught us new lessons.
About the different kinds of ice,
the different thicknesses,
how to plan the perfect belly-flop attack.
It was an afternoon of pure relaxation.
Plus, some extra seal-hunting practice
for my brother.
A quick roll in the snow to dry our fur...
And we were on the move again.
We did grow a lot more confident
that spring.
But Mom was still the center of our world.
Today, there is little time for play.
All of our energy is spent
searching for food.
I want to teach my daughter
where to find seals.
But the old places I was shown
are harder and harder to find.
When summer came around again, the ice
seemed different than the year before.
It felt hotter. And the melt came earlier.
But the ice break-up allowed
fresh prey into our home.
And these were not the seals
we'd come to know.
Beluga whales.
I had never seen a beluga whale before.
Mom had, though.
And she was set on
bringing one home for dinner.
Catching prey in the water
is incredibly hard.
But she was persistent. We needed to eat.
Finally, one swam straight at her.
It got away.
But she was teaching us every chance
at food was worth taking.
In summer,
the sun never sets for half the year.
The unending daylight
brings a great wave of new life.
Everyone rushes to raise their families
in the warm summer sun.
Even with all this new life, summer is
always a season of hardship for us.
You needed to take every opportunity.
The harbor seals were so tempting.
But Mom had no ice floes
to help her hunt now.
She had to improvise.
I studied her every move
as she stalked them silently.
But once her cover was blown,
it became a game of chase that
we were never going to win.
They swam rings around us.
But Mom somehow was always able to pull
some food out of nowhere.
Seaweed for dinner.
We hated seaweed for dinner.
Especially my brother.
He'd rather go without dinner
than eat seaweed.
As summer dragged on,
food became even more scarce.
It was there,
but it was often very hard to reach.
Birds came to the cliffs every summer
to have their chicks.
They had to nest wherever they could,
to be safe from predators.
Every square inch was precious.
We ice bears will climb
almost anything for food,
and Mom was ready to show us how.
But we weren't the only hungry ones there.
She'd been outdone
by yet another male bear.
The climb was dangerous enough.
Mom wasn't going to attempt it
with him up there.
The cliffs were crumbling
beneath his feet.
Trying to snatch prey that flies on
a dangerous rock face is not an option.
He had to settle for eggs or chicks.
Far below, my brother managed
to catch us a much better meal.
It was our little victory.
Summer was often like this.
Ice bears forced to extremes by hunger.
All for a tiny bite.
All summer ever provided was scraps.
Those who took the risks
were the ones who ate.
The land could provide food,
just not for us. Not this time.
Today, the summers are getting
longer and longer.
What I learned about finding small scraps
in hard times has kept us alive.
But a young ice bear needs to do more
than just survive.
She needs to grow.
I remember, in autumn of that second year,
we had an incredible discovery.
A dead whale washed up on the shore.
This would keep us fed
for a very long time.
But I quickly realized this was not
going to be an easy meal.
Getting through the thick skin
was nearly impossible.
Underneath was so much rich blubber.
I could smell it.
But the trick was getting to it.
Just as we were making some progress,
another male.
Come to ruin our good fortune, again.
It was best to keep our distance.
At least he would be more interested
in the whale than us.
I was so jealous,
watching as he broke through the skin
with his more powerful jaws.
Mom decided this opportunity
was too great to abandon.
Good things come to those who wait.
In the days that followed,
more and more bears arrived,
lured by the smell of the delicious feast.
Mom wasn't letting me anywhere close,
until they were all well fed.
It didn't take long for all those jaws
to tear through the skin
and gorge on the juicy goodness inside.
I so wanted in on that.
Once they'd had their fill,
they all washed off their sloppy meal
with a nice swim.
I had never seen so many ice bears
together in one place.
In that moment, with so much food
to go around, there was no competition.
So they simply reveled
in each other's company.
Finally, when even the biggest of them
was stuffed completely,
I took my turn.
Way better than seaweed.
After all we'd been through,
all the hunger and hardship,
I can still remember
the three of us just playing.
It was the best day of my life.
Our second winter was much worse
than our first.
The power of those storms...
they were something totally new.
When spring arrived,
there were only two of us.
The winter had taken my brother.
From then on, it was just Mom and me.
Fire and ice have always been enemies.
But now, fire is winning.
Even the land is beginning to melt
beneath our feet.
The old routes through our home
are becoming impassable.
This is not the summer I knew.
This is some other season.
I remember the third summer
of my childhood was the warmest.
The sea ice melted away early.
And the seals were almost
impossible to find.
So Mom led me to another of her
special places to find food.
The tip of an island,
where a new type of prey I'd never seen
was waiting for us.
I was fascinated by these strange
creatures with the strange teeth.
Or maybe it was "frightened."
I can't remember.
But Mom had a reason for bringing me here.
It was time for me
to try my hand at hunting.
I tried to decide which one would make
the easiest target.
I decided none of them.
Mom went up to investigate the walrus
gathered at the top of the beach.
Adults, all tightly packed together.
Too many, and too big to handle.
When she came back down to the water
to see how I was progressing,
I had almost worked out a plan.
Mother walrus, holding their newborn
pups with their flippers.
The perfect-sized prey for us.
Just swimming up and stealing them
from their mothers in the water
was not going to happen.
But maybe there would be some pups hiding
among the adults on the beach.
There were, tucked in around
the edge of the huddle.
I took up my position.
They didn't seem to care.
It wasn't until Mom moved in
and created panic
that they started moving into the water.
It worked.
A pup, left behind by a panicked mother.
It was the best meal we'd had in ages.
And I was finally taking
a bigger role in hunting.
Just as winter was setting in
that third year,
my life changed forever.
Mom knew it was time for me
to make my own way.
She had taught me everything she could.
So, she let me go.
Everything I'd learned from her,
I would now have to attempt on my own.
It was frightening.
The world had never seemed
so vast and lonely.
I didn't know if I could survive
without her.
I wandered alone for the next three years.
I did not encounter another ice bear
in all that time.
I wasn't really alone, though.
She was with me.
She was a part of every experience,
every decision,
every journey.
A part of the bear that I had become.
Her knowledge is what got me through
those three long, grueling winters.
And then that spring,
something extraordinary happened.
I met another ice bear.
My experience with male bears
made me very cautious.
But that old fear quickly vanished.
He was friendly.
We were the same age and had both
been on our own for so long.
We just played together
like carefree cubs the whole day.
We ran off to my favorite spot.
The ice edge,
where I used to play with my brother.
That day, I realized
not all male bears had to be feared.
Just as suddenly as he'd arrived,
he was on his way again.
We were just two young bears
who met one day
in the middle of the boundless ice.
Later that spring, my newfound confidence
would be truly tested.
A massive, full-grown male,
more than twice my size.
He followed my scent,
and tracked my footsteps in the snow.
For days, he shadowed my every move.
I had been running from male bears
my whole life.
But something about this was different.
I felt a strength.
I wasn't scared.
I soon understood I was being courted.
He stayed by my side for many days.
Until finally, I felt the time was right.
I wanted no trouble from
any interfering ice bears,
so I led him far away from the sea ice,
into the mountains.
It was a long, tiring trek,
and we had to stop to rest
before we reached the summit.
We fell asleep together.
I knew I could trust him.
Above the clouds, not far from
the very cave where I was born,
he would help provide me
with the only thing I truly desired
since parting with my family.
A family of my own.
I would never see him again.
But the next spring, my wish came true.
I had a cub of my own.
Just one.
But that made her all the more special.
She so reminded me of my brother.
Nursing my own cub,
looking back on my childhood,
I felt I had come full circle.
And that despite all the challenges,
I had succeeded.
My mother had succeeded.
We ice bears are great survivors.
We have always mastered
the changes we have faced.
We have done so by carrying the knowledge
of those who've gone before.
Where to find ice.
How to find food.
How to adapt to an evolving landscape.
But I am reaching the limits
of what I know about this world.
These new changes seem to me
almost insurmountable.
My daughter will learn what it takes
to be a great ice bear.
She will endure.
But what kind of world will she call home?