After so many tear-jerking movies, this is one that even the boys are probable to enjoy. Despite not ending with a Big Game, “Love and Basketball” can still be considered a sports movie, and due to its romantic side, it may be unique in its league. It’s a thoughtful and touching story about two kids who grow up loving each other, and the game. “Love & Basketball” is about how you can either be in love or play basketball, but it’s tricky to do both at the same time.
The film mostly avoids overblown drama and it doesn’t preach for equality for women in sports. What it does, is point out that if you’ve ever wanted something really badly then you must be willing to put any amount of work into getting it, and if you share this idea too, then give this movie a try!
The story follows a young couple who navigates the tricky paths of romance and athletics. Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) grew up in the same neighborhood and have known each other since childhood. As they grow into adulthood, but they also share another all-consuming passion: basketball. They’ve followed the game all their lives and have no small amount of talent on the court. As the story unravels we see Quincy and Monica struggling to make their relationship work while at the same time pursuing their dream of playing they into stardom in big-league professional ball.
The film is the directorial debut of the writer Gina Prince-Bythewood. The director’s feel for characterization and her knack for ambience keep ”Love and Basketball” on the move, until we realize that in fact it’s not really about anything. It’s in the small touches that bring this movie to life, and it’s rare that directors can pull off this kind of thing. For all its clever basketball metaphors, the movie does best when portraying the hard work that goes into love and happiness.