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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The Heart of the Game This is one of the great documentary achievements of the year. There have been so many stunning documentary films lately that they are beginning to provide far more revelation and insight into our times than most fictional works. The Heart of the Game is one of the most stunning examples. To review this as a sports film gives it little of the credit it deserves. What these remarkable filmmakers have done is to fashion a "sports genre" movie into a perfect gem of a film about adolescence, class, race, education, competition, gender, inspiration, and the gallant nature of the everyday the heroes and heroines in our midst. Directed by Ward Serrill, edited by Eric Frith and co-produced by Liz Manne, I think it rivals Grizzly Man in its ability to resonate beyond its own expectations and achieve something akin to poetry.
The filmmakers have put together a rousing portrait of two lives - University of Washington tax professor and women's basketball coach Bill Resler and basketball prodigy Darnellia Russell. Together with an ensemble of colorful and committed women athletes and coaches, they overcome a string of obstacles and turns of good and bad fortune that couldn't be scripted into a work of fiction any more powerfully. That the events you see actually unfolded as the film was being shot is remarkably good luck. They have taken the two hundred hours of footage over six years and beautifully fashioned it into a riveting story that will not only inspire but will blow your mind. The audience is evidence. I cannot remember the last time that heard a sophisticated older audience such as attended this screening, actually yell at the screen, comment out loud, sit on the edge of their seats, and applaud DURING the film. I'm not a sports fan at all. I dislike in many ways the tribal mentality of the commercial sporting event. But this film is way beyond a film for sports fans. It ought to be required viewing for any teacher, and for that matter, any high school class. Rather than another tired anecdote from the rarified world of celebrity let's see Bill Resler and Darnellia Russell on Letterman, Leno, Oprah. These are heroes worth hearing from.
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