Teddy Bear

Institute History

  • 2012 Sundance Film Festival


In the opening moments of Teddy Bear, a colossal, laconic man tries and fails, over shrimp cocktail, to make small talk with his date. Such is the fascinating paradox of Dennis, a champion bodybuilder whose impressive physical prowess does not defeat his social discomfort or solitude. At home after the date, something is awry when Dennis reflexively lies when a voice behind a door questions his whereabouts. That voice, we soon learn, belongs to Dennis’s fragile, birdlike mother, who wields a powerful hold on his heart. This maternal anchor by no means allays his chronic longing for love, so he musters the courage to embark on a quest. In Thailand, amid sex tourists, monolithic hotels, and local gym rats, Dennis begins to overcome his fears and personal limitations.

Watching Dennis’s quiet revolution gather steam transfixes us in this subtle, moving story about integrity, the inherent strength in gentleness, and what it means to be dutiful to oneself.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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