Mattie Dane (Michaela du Toit) is a 15-year-old aspiring figure skating champion whose dreams screech to a halt when she falls at regionals. When the eviction notice comes a few days later, she and her mom and her sister are forced to move out of the big city of Toronto to Sudbury, Ontario with their Aunt Ginger. Her unemployed mom decides that the costs, both financial and physical, are too much for Mattie to continue. But, lo and behold, there is an ice rink in their new town, and Mattie is drawn like a moth to a flame.
The hottie ice caretaker is none other than Elvis Stojko… I mean “Mercury” (kind of a silly name, but he non-ironically pulls it off). Anyone with a little Olympic knowledge may remember that Stojko was a two-time silver medalist for Canada (and also watch for an appearance by ice dancing gold medalist Tessa Virtue, as herself). Mercury yearns to find and train a champion, and when he meets Mattie, and makes a few phone calls, decides that she may be the one worth fighting for.
The conflict and flip side of having a supportive mother and coach is represented by Mattie’s friend Heather (Taylor Hunsley), who has a super-dominating stage-mom Rose (Natasha Henstridge), who happens to be a former high school friend of Mattie’s mom Kelly (Lara Daans). Rather than painting Mattie’s competitor as a villain, you see immediately that when poor Heather lashes out at her friend, it entirely because of pressure from her crazed mother. As for sweet Mattie, she unsurprisingly is able to “rise above” and focus on doing her best.
Without broadly stereotyping all involved, Ice Girls manages to be an engaging drama about sports (yes! there is a training montage) as well as a surprisingly well-rounded family drama with good life lessons. The adults are three-dimensional yet flawed in their own ways, so it is clear when they offer advice to the kids in their lives, it comes from experience, whether good or bad. The kids are allowed to screw up (as are the adults), and everyone manages to come out intact and feeling pretty good at the end. There is enough ice skating for fans of the sport, but Ice Girls is also a solid family drama that should appeal to a broad audience.