Review: ‘Amateur’ Tactfully, Intelligently Explores the Dark Side of College Athletics

One of the most successful things in Amateur, written and directed by Ryan Koo, is the casting of Michael Rainey Jr. as the lead, a young basketball star on the cusp of fame and fortune. Or at least the chance of fame and fortune. Rainey Jr., while a very capable performer, looks the part more than anything else. His character, Terron Forte, is tender. Like so many gifted young people, his talent has arrived before everything else. In every wide-eyed look he gives, every act of faux-confidence he puts on, it is clear this is a child who has been thrust into a situation bigger than him and those who surround him.

There’s his father (Brian White), a punch-drunk ex-football player who never made it, his mother (Sharon Leal), a practical parent who is worried for her boy, and finally Coach Gaines (Josh Charles), an ambitious man driven by
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