THE HEART OF THE GAME captures the passion and energy of a Seattle high school girls' basketball team, the eccentricity of their unorthodox coach, and the incredible true story of one player's fight to play the game she loves. See more »
One of the things really that makes coaching fun is when you tell teenagers "Go do 'ABC'", and they'll look at you and say "Yes, we're going to go do 'ABC'", and they're excited about "ABC", and five seconds later you watch them do "XYZ", and sometimes I'll ask them "Why did you do 'XYZ'?" and they never have an answer. They always look at you like, "Why would you ask a question like that?"
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By-the-numbers success story finally dunks at the end
This is a decent sports documentary which covers six intense seasons on a Washington high school girl's basketball team. At the heart of The Heart of the Game, the focus draws towards the Roosevelt Roughrider's passionate, dedicated coach, and his relationship with a troubled and talented point guard. The portraits afforded here do offer uplifting, adversity-conquering glimpses into the soul of true athletes and the support systems set up to help make them thrive, but still usually ends providing more glimpse then revelation. During the six year season coverage, the random ups and downs that occur for this championship-hungry pack of females do become redundant, often substituting genuine sentiment for cold statistics, summed up by rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges boring narration.
Coach Bill Resier remains an inspiration throughout, showing unfettered dedication to his young team, though the focus on young star Darnellia Russell does become questionable in the articulation of this simple film's thesis. It can feel at times that the filmmakers are trying to paint this talented young women in a light that will best serve their movie, despite the contradictory behavior coming from her on-screen. Nevertheless, the ensuing legal battle that saw her coaches and teammates fighting for her to finish senior year on the team drives a uniting morale that finally brings an emotional sting near the satisfying conclusion. Certainly not necessary, especially given the overshadowing Hoop Dreams that will forever dominate this niche, the realistically moving finale somewhat justifies the majority of doc's uninvolved detailing.
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