Nos Amours: The Saga of the Montreal Expos Review — A Swing and a Miss

Does Canada have enough room for a second team? (Again?)

4 mins read

Nos Amours: The Saga of the Montreal Expos
(Canada, 92 min.)
Dir. Robbie Hart


Before the Toronto Blue Jays staked their claim as “Canada’s Team,” the country’s baseball hopes and interests resided with the Montreal Expos. Established in 1969, the team nicknamed Nos Amours experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, bringing their host city and its people along for the ride.

It’s been 20 years since Major League Baseball announced that the Expos would be relocating to Washington D.C. (under a new name, the Nationals), and in that time, the desire for professional baseball to return to Montreal has only strengthened as the mythology of the Expos continues to grow. In his latest documentary, Robbie Hart (Ice Breaker) attempts to navigate the legacy the team left behind, the fan base who wants a second chance, and the probability of an Expos return to Montreal.

Filmed over 10 years, Nos Amours: The Saga of the Montreal Expos documents the efforts made to bring baseball back to Montreal. Starting in 2012 with former player Warren Cromartie and the grassroots campaign to demonstrate the strength of the Expos fandom, the movie concludes with the failed attempt of Stephen Bronfman, son of the original majority owner of the team, to petition MLB to split the home games of the Tampa Bay Rays between Montreal and Tampa Bay.

Throughout the film, Hart weaves in interviews with fans to impress upon what the team meant, and continues to mean, to the city. He also includes footage from the glory days of the club to illustrate the point. The film gives the 1994 team its proper due by showcasing their return to Montreal for a spring training series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets played at Olympic Stadium and looking back at the now infamous season and the players strike that thwarted the Expos of their best chance at a World Series.

Although Hart makes good on his intention to focus the film on the hopeful resurrection of the Expos, Nos Amours falls short of truly capturing the significance of this return. A brief look back at the history of the franchise and an overview of some of the key players who donned the tricolour uniforms provides only a surface level understanding of the team’s identity. Without digging deeper into how the Expos launched the interest of baseball in Canada, why Gary Carter means so much to the city, or how Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez all found their footing through the Expos system, the film doesn’t quite convey the profound impact of the club. Instead, Nos Amours serves an informational string of events leading to the conclusion that, more likely than not, MLB won’t be giving Montreal a second chance.

The Montreal Expos are a storied franchise and those of us who are baseball fans understand the tragedy of 1994. Moreover, particularly for Canadian baseball fans, we understand the rich legacy of the team and its impact on the sport across the country. Some of the sport’s best players came through Jarry Park and Olympic Stadium, and in turn, inspired generations of future players. But without that knowledge, Nos Amours only offers a nuts and bolts explanation as to why the Expos were taken from Montreal and have yet to be returned.

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