BlackBerry Movie: Plot, Cast, Release Date, Trailer and Review

Everything you need to know about the 2023 BlackBerry movie

BlackBerry Film poster
BlackBerry Film poster

Since the critical and commercial success of the 2010 movie The Social Network, film studios have become interested in making biopics about entrepreneurs and trailblazers who have revolutionized their respective industries. This trend has resulted in the production of movies like 2011’s Moneyball, 2015’s Steve Jobs, and 2016’s The Founder, just to name a few. And since such films are well-received by critics and audiences alike, it appears that the trend is here to stay.

The latest addition to this lineup of films is BlackBerry, a 2023 movie that tells the extraordinary rise of the world’s first smartphone and its unfortunate quick demise. If this is something you’d add up to your watch list, then here’s everything you need to know about the film.

What is the movie BlackBerry about?

Based on the 2015 book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, BlackBerry centers on the men that charted the course of the spectacular rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone brand.

Co-written by director Matt Johnson and producer Matthew Miller, the movie is set in 1996 and starts with Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and his business partner and best friend Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson) on the edge of creating the world’s first smartphone. The duo, however, is less business savvy than they are tech, and struggle to keep their company, Research in Motion, afloat. Everything changes when cunning businessman Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton) agrees to join the company, bringing with him the money and experience needed to create and sell a prototype of their invention.

Jay Baruchel as Mike Lazaridis and Matt Johnson as Douglas Fregin in BlackBerry
Jay Baruchel as Mike Lazaridis and Matt Johnson as Douglas Fregin in BlackBerry

Seemingly overnight the three men revolutionize the way people work, communicate and connect. With lots of celebrities, politicians, and businessmen now addicted to their BlackBerrys, the company’s value skyrockets, but within a few short years, shady business dealings, personal grievances, and the introduction of Apple’s iPhone threaten the company’s incredible success.

Glen Howerton as Jim Balsillie in BlackBerry
Glen Howerton as Jim Balsillie in BlackBerry

BlackBerry movie trailer

Dropped on March 15th, 2023, the official trailer for BlackBerry opens with Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson) pitching their new product, the BlackBerry smartphone, to businessman Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton).

Balsillie tells the tech duo that he knows how to market the phone and who they can sell it to, but he wants 50 percent of the pair’s company and to be named the CEO. Although the best friends find Balsillie sketchy, Lazaridis quickly agrees to the former’s demands and BlackBerry becomes a global phenomenon in no time.

But as seen in the latter part of the trailer, Lazaridis, Fregin, and Balsillie fail to keep BlackBerry’s relevance and soon witness their company crumble right in front of them. You can watch the trailer below:

BlackBerry - Official Trailer ft. Jay Baruchel & Glenn Howerton | HD | IFC Films

BlackBerry cast

In addition to Jay Baruchel, Matt Johnson, and Glenn Howerton, the movie also stars Cary Elwes as Carl Yankowski, Saul Rubinek as John Woodman, Michael Ironside as Charles Purdy, Rich Sommer as Paul Stannos, SungWon Cho as Ritchie Cheung, and Michelle Giroux as Dara Frankel.

Where was BlackBerry filmed?

Made by Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller’s Canadian production company Zapruder Films, BlackBerry was filmed in Canada. Johnson and Miller, who are both Canadians, have dedicated themselves to working on projects in their native country, with the story of Canadian company BlackBerry fitting that vision.

How can I watch the BlackBerry movie?

If you’re in the United States or Canada, you can watch BlackBerry in theaters on May 12th, 2023. The movie will be released in the U.S. through IFC Films and in Canada through Elevation Pictures. The movie’s release date outside of North America has yet to be announced, but the international release will be handled by Paramount Global Content Distribution.

Is BlackBerry worth watching?

BlackBerry had its premiere in February 2023 at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, where it received a nomination for best film. The film was also nominated at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival for the Narrative Spotlight award, and director Matt Johnson took home the Sloan Science on Screen Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Early reviews for BlackBerry have been generally positive, with critics praising Johnson’s direction, Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton’s performances, and the film’s entertaining blend of comedy and drama. On Rotten Tomatoes, BlackBerry currently holds a 97% critic score based on 30 reviews.

What do we personally think of the film? We enjoyed it a lot. The film does a great job of portraying the rise and fall of BlackBerry in a digestible way that will entertain not just nerds, but also a mainstream audience. It’s also able to laugh at itself.

That said, we have one significant gripe; the film never explains why the device was coined BlackBerry.

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