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The Heart of the Game

Go courtside for a true-life rush like no other in this passionate and inspirational documentary in the same powerful tradition as Hoop Dreams, Director Ward Serrill brings the camera up close and personal to capture the Roosevelt Roughriders girls' basketball team during six turbulent seasons, taking us far beyond the court. You'll meet Bill Resler, the tax professor turned hard-driving unorthodox coach who turns the team around- and Darnellia Russel, the talented inner-city tough girl who battles off-court threats to regain eligibility. You'll meet a real team full of drive, toughness and the unbridled desire to make history.

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The Heart of the Game is, simply put, one of the most enjoyable and joyous documentaries ever made. For several years, the movie follows a girls' basketball team called the Rough Riders from a Seattle high school as they strive to win the state championship, and in the process discovers heart-wrenching twists of fate, vivid and compelling characters, colorful dialogue, and a nail-biting conclusion. The Heart of the Game starts with Bill Resler, a professor of tax law who agrees to become the head coach for the girls' basketball program at Roosevelt High School. He swiftly challenges the players with demanding drills and wild metaphors (each year he picks a different theme for the team, from "pack of wolves" to "tropical storm")--and the girls take him on, pulling together into a potent team. But when a girl from a poor neighborhood named Darnellia Russell joins the Rough Riders, her skill takes their fortunes even higher--until she unexpectedly has to quit. From there, the movie takes more and more compelling turns, carried along by the winning personalities of Bill and Darnellia. The Heart of the Game, like Hoop Dreams, works first as an exhilarating sports movie, but has a rich human story that will make it fascinating to people who don't care about basketball. First-time filmmaker Ward Serrill lucked out with the material, but he clearly labored to shape what must have been thousands of hours of footage into a taut, headlong movie. His labor paid off. See this movie. --Bret Fetzer

Product Details

Media Type Movie
Recommended Age 12 and up
Actors Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (narrates)
Director Ward Serrill
Running Time 98 minutes
Release Date Jan 6, 2012
Language English