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The Heart of the Game

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Ward Serrell

One need not have any interest in basketball to be moved by Ward Serrill's incredibly moving, hypnotically riveting documentary. A HOOP DREAMS-style story transposed onto females in middle-class Seattle, THE HEART OF THE GAME follows a high school … see full wiki

Cast: Ludacris
Director: Ward Serrell
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: June 9, 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
1 review about The Heart of the Game

Heart of the Game - 2005

  • May 14, 2009
Rating:
+3
Pros: interesting details, shows good team spirit

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
She tried to run game on me (On me)
But I'm a run game on you
And I'm a keep playing the game
~Bone Thugs-n-Harmony

Heart of the Game is a documentary written and directed by Ward Serrill which follows the incredible short run that one girl, Darnellia Russell, made for stardom on the basketball court. From a middle class family in Seattle, Darnellia transferred to the almost totally white school, Roosevelt High, as she began her high school education. Talented on the court, without a doubt; cocky and self assured, she still battled small insecurities because she was in a territory she had never been before.

To top it off, all of her friends and family attended rival school, Garfield High, calling her a traitor because she went off to play ball with the white kids. But this has nothing to do with white/black or even differences in classes of families. It has a good deal to do with injustice and missed opportunities.

Darnellia quickly moved from the junior varsity to senior varsity, even though she was only a freshman. However, she didn’t keep her grades up to par and often missed out on the beginning of the season. That didn’t stop coach Bill Resler from being in her corner and fighting for her rights to play basketball. Resler, a tax professor at the University of Washington, was an unorthodox coach at best. His methods were a constant topic of conversation by fellow students, interviewed on the film.

During her junior year, Darnellia became pregnant and dropped out of school. Taking a year off, she returned to repeat her junior year but was denied access to basketball because of some arcane notion by uppity-ups that she no longer was qualified to play ball. They would only consider reinstating her player status if it proved she had taken time off because of undue hardship. Starting her senior year, she went before the WIAA and fought the ruling, winning her case on the grounds because she was female, her pregnancy prohibited only the female quadrant from participating while not punishing the male counterpart.

Before her pregnancy, while only a sophomore, she had already received letters of intent from over 25 universities. After returning to school, no one contacted her. Would she ever realize her goal to not only attend and graduate college but also star in the WNBA?

The film was fairly well done with some good interviews with fellow players. One must remember these are high school girls, 16-18 years old. Some live footage of games, especially championship games, including playoffs filmed on FOX.

It received two award nominations and carries a PG-13 rating for ‘brief, strong, language’ [the use of the F word ONE time]. It was narrated by Ludacris.

DVD extras include: deleted scene; directors commentary; making of featurette; Beyond the Heart of the Game featurette; interviews with Resler & Darnellia; and Darnellia and her family.

I found it interesting with a lot of detail I wasn’t aware of about female sports and rules. It is also a good film to show how a team works as a team and not individual players. This was extremely evident when Coach Resler explained to the team that all the games that Darnellia played in could be disqualified if the WIAA overturned the court ruling and they emphatically responded “Let Darnellia play”.

Thanks,
Susi

Recommended:
Yes

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