The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk

The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk

The Student News Site of Stephen Decatur High School

The Hawk


“Blackberry” showcases the birth of the mobile phone

XYZ films
Jay Baruchel stars in “Blackberry” (2023), rhe story of the meteoric rise – and catastrophic demise – of the world’s first smartphone.

“BlackBerry” is a 2023 Canadian documentary/comedy that was released on May 12, 2023, and directed by Matt Johnson.

“BlackBerry” received good reviews when it was initially released, scoring 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes on its opening weekend.

It has received 10 awards so far, including Vancouver Film Critics Circle: Best Canadian Film Award, Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film (Glenn Howerton), and Best Male Actor in a Canadian Film (Jay Baruchel).

It also won the Toronto Film Critic Associations Roger Best Canadian Film Award, which was given to Matt Johnson, Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards Best Supporting Actor (Glenn Howerton), and many more. Currently, the film is up for 17 awards at the Canadian Screen Awards, which is the most nominated film in Canadian Screen Awards history.

This movie stars Jay Baruchel, who is known for his voice acting as Hiccup in the “How to Train Your Dragon” series, Matt Johnson, who is the director of the film, and Glenn Howerton, who is famous for playing Dennis Reynolds in the comedy series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” as well as creating the series alongside his co-stars and longtime friends Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day.  He is an executive producer and writer of the long running show.

“BlackBerry” is a fictional account of the creation and eventual collapse of the BlackBerry phone, which was introduced to the public in 1999 and discontinued in 2016.

 The movie begins in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in 1996. Research in Motion CEO Mike Lazaridis (Baruchel) and co-founder Douglas Fregin (Johnson) try to pitch their invention, PocketLink, to businessman Jim Balsillie (Howerton).

The pitch is unsuccessful, and they return to their offices.  Soon after the unsuccessful pitch, Balsillie is fired from his job for his aggressive ways.  He goes to Research in Motion and says he’ll agree to work for them if he is made CEO of the business.

At first they hesitate, but after Balsillie confirms his suspicion that US Robotics, who were investing in Research in Motion, was trying to bankrupt them, they bring him in as co-CEO.

Balsillie sets up a pitch for the PocketLink with Bell Atlantic, which forces Lazaridis and Fregin to build a crude protype of the product.  Lazaridis and Balsillie head to New York, where Lazaridis loses the prototype in the taxi and leaves Balsillie to make the pitch on his own.

At the last second, Lazaridis comes in with the prototype and Bell Atlantic agrees to the pitch, rebranding the PocketLink as the BlackBerry.

As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Balsillie believes he has power over Lazaridis and Fregin. He hires strict management that keeps the workplace in line.

He sells more phones than the network can handle, which crashes the system and causes him to hire engineers to fix the problem, and he begins to shift his focus to a lifelong dream of his, which is owning a hockey team.

Another issue that arises is the invention of the iPhone, which is the first smartphone to not have a keyboard attached to the phone. Lazaridis, after a pitch goes poorly, promises that the BlackBerry Storm will have touchscreens.

Lazaridis also agrees to outsource labor of the new phone, which Fregin disagrees with, and he quits working at Research in Motion

The Securities & Exchange Commission raids Research in Motion once they learn that Balsillie hired engineers in 2003 with illegally backdated stock options. The SEC threatens Lazaridis with legal action, which results in him ratting out Balsillie. This leaves Lazaridis as sole CEO.

A year later, the BlackBerry Storm comes in, but upon further inspection, Lazaridis finds that there are bugs.  The movie ends with Lazaridis beginning to manually fix the phones as the closing titles share the future and death of RIM and the BlackBerry phone. 

“BlackBerry” is a great film that teaches the viewer about the rise and fall of the first mobile cell phone, as well as featuring a stellar cast that accurately depicts the events.

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