'Beartown' Trailer: HBO's New Series Deals With Sexual Assault By A Star Athlete

The Swedish-language drama series Beartown premiered overseas last year, and it's coming to the United States this month, courtesy of HBO. The show centers on the intersection between power and responsibility in a small town, in which a star junior ice hockey player sexually assaults a woman who turned down his advances. This clearly won't be a light and breezy viewing experience – instead, this snowy, bleak-looking Nordic drama appears to grapple with some serious and worthwhile topics including consent and culpability. Check out the trailer below.

Beartown Trailer

I've lost count of the number of times I've seen reports about prominent student athletes who have committed rape or sexual assault over the years, but unfortunately, it happens all-too-frequently. And sadly, justice can be elusive when sports are an important economic component of a society – whether it's a university in the U.S. or a small town in Sweden. Beartown, which is based on author Fredrick Backman's novel Björnstad, is set in the world of junior ice hockey in which a 15-year-old boy, who has been raised in a toxic environment in which being a "winner" trumps all else, seems incapable of understanding that he is not entitled to a woman's body simply because he's good at playing sports. This happens just as the local team earns the opportunity to potentially win a huge game and put their town on the map in a meaningful way, and the town finds itself in turmoil after hearing about the assault.

HBO says "the chilling and honest series explores family trauma, teenage romance, truths and lies, actions and consequences, and ultimately, the courage it takes to go against the group and stand up for justice."

Peter Grönlund (Drifters, Goliath) directed all five episodes of this limited series, which was adapted by writers Linn Gottfriedsson, Antonia Pyk, and Anders Weidemann. Actors Oliver DufåkerMiriam IngridUlf Stenberg, Aliette Opheim, and Tobias Zilliacus star in the series, which was greenlit by HBO Europe and originally aired on HBO Nordic.

Here is the show's official synopsis:

Based on the Fredrik Backman's bestselling novel of the same name, Beartown explores the role a junior ice-hockey team has in a small community, the hope, the secrets that could tear the town apart, the courage it takes to go against the group and the consequences of how we raise our children.

Beartown premieres on HBO and HBO Max on February 22, 2021.