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LOVE AND BASKETBALL

SYNOPSIS:
Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) are next-door neighbours who first meet as 11 year-olds in 1981. Both aspire to become professional basketball players. Becoming romantically involved in their teens, Monica and Quincy's relationship is tested as they progress through high school and college ranks in the hope of making pro leagues.

"Out of the most apparently un-appetising ingredients, writer-director Gina Prince has fashioned a sports-themed romantic drama with heart and something substantial to say. If, like me, the very idea of movies about basketball and pro football leaves you cold, this is a real surprise packet which does not climax with a do-or-die game in which one of the stars shoots a winning basket in the last second. This is a film about life, love and choices more than it is about the game. Likeable from the outset, it neatly establishes the timbre of the relationship between young Quincy and tomboyish Monica when she refuses to act like a girlfriend is supposed to after that first awkward kiss. This is a thoughtful film which veers from the expected in many of its details. Placing the dramatic emphasis on Monica's story gives a fresh and involving twist to the sports film genre. The difference between the gym halls she plays and trains in and the packed arenas Quincy and the men's teams strut about in is a forceful reminder of the status and financial gaps which affect all women's sport. The point isn't labored but it's there. They're also not kids from the lower end of the socio-economic scale; they live in an affluent Los Angeles suburb and basketball is not the only means out of the ghetto. Quincy's father Zeke (Dennis Haysbert) is a former NBL star and Monica's father Nathan (Harry J. Lennix) is a high-ranking banker. Both are supportive but cautious, stressing the importance of education. It's refreshing to see a film which views sport as a potential path of life and work and not the only thing that matters. Scenes between Quincy and his father, who's been hit by a paternity suit and the conflict between Monica and her mother, who tells her daughter a thing or two about choices in life, raise this out of the ordinary. Even the coverage of games concentrates on emotion rather than the scoreboard. Love & Basketball is a little overlong at 118 minutes but is recommended for its willingness to tackle more than just winning or losing the game."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LOVE AND BASKETBALL (M)
(US)

CAST: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan, Alfre Woodard, Harry J. Lennix, Regina Hall (I)

DIRECTOR: Gina Prince

PRODUCER: Sam Kitt, Spike Lee

SCRIPT: Gina Prince

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Reynaldo Villalobos

EDITOR: Terilyn A. Shropshire

MUSIC: Terence Blanchard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeffrey Howard

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 9,2000







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