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July 03, 2006

The Heart of The Game

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Writer/director Ward Serrill’s wonderful documentary, about a Seattle high school girls basketball team the Roughriders coached by the inspiring Bill Resler, is a "Hoop Dreams" of the early 21st century. Coach Resler, a University of Washington tax professor by day, invigorates his girls b-ball team with animal metaphors that encourage them to ‘sink their teeth in and draw blood!’ Personal issues of the players come to the fore as one girl is revealed to have suffered sexual molestation by a private coach, while the team’s star player Darnellia Russell finds her African-American identity at odds with the college scholarship she desires. Ward Serrill seamlessly weaves together a historical context of girls basketball along with candid pieces of existent social commentary to capture a micro/macro vision of challenges facing our culture. "The Heart of the Game" is an altogether enjoyable, exciting, informative and tragic documentary.

Rated PG-13. 98 mins. (B+) (Three Stars)

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