Love & Basketball (2000)

I never thought that two completely different things could go together so well.

It’s about winning, losing and playing the game. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) grow up next door to each other playing basketball, fighting and falling in love. When simultaneous turns in the big leagues throw their off-court relationship off-kilter, the pair discovers that very little is fair in Love & Basketball.

This is a very savvy but mostly warm-hearted sports film that is kind of like the 21st century basketball reaction to Bull Durham. I though that this movie would be a little too African American for me, seeing as it was produced by Spike Lee. But, I had a wonderful time with it and it actually turned out to be one of my favorite romances in awhile.

This is a sports movie that is not how each particular game turns out. It’s about the love and the faith these two people have for the game. It’s about practicing for the game, prepping for the game, and most of all winning the game. Not every film you see about basketball shows the practice scenes where as this one shows them, and the effects it has afterward.

The one thing that was very fresh about this film was that it did not take advantage of the subject they had. Since it is the first film to feature woman playing the game of basketball, it really does focus on how Monica feels about the game and doesn’t use it for more profanities.

This film really does start to shoot itself in its own foot by the end. Almost every scene becomes more cliched than the one before, and it really started to aggravate me and have me wondering how a film so genuine about love and all it’s speed bumps could be so oblivious to what is thought about when thought about Romance films.

This film does feature some real great acting from both of its two leads. I found Epps very smart and believable, and Lathan an absolute sensation, she’s strong, smart, witty, and most of all believable. The chemistry between the two stars is exactly right. They are entirely believable as friends, as rivals and as lovers this is a tricky combination for any acting pair. There are also plenty of side characters that take over this film and do some good jobs at supporting acts.

Consensus: Though it is heavily cliched, Love & Basketball features some fresh writing and direction, along with two very believable performances and unmatched chemistry between the Epps and Lathan.


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