The Heart of the Game

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The Heart of the Game
Studio: Miramax Films
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Darnellia Russell, Bill Resler, Devon Crosby Helms, Maude Lepley, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges
Director: Ward Serrill
WorkNameSort: Heart of the Game, The
Our Rating: 4.00
It's too easy to describe The Heart of the Game as 'Hoop Dreams for girls,� but this winning documentary reaches beyond the clichés of your typical sports movie. First-time director Ward Serrill takes an in-depth look at Bill Resler, a charmingly rumpled tax-law professor who takes a side job coaching a Seattle high school's female basketball team, the Roughriders. The result is an astounding drama that spans seven years, wrestling with issues of race, gender and class while capturing the struggles of competition with intelligence and intimacy. With the story of promising freshman Darnellia Russell serving as its thematic spine, the film has surprising developments, including subplots about feuds, disappointments and one player's profoundly disturbing involvement with a predatory agent. The only real problem is that the filmmakers have almost too much material to work with, and the focus shifts often.

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