Check out the second half of our Movies You Have Not Seen But Should Double Feature!
The Heart of the Game
Welcome back to Movies You Have Not Have Seen But You Should. For the second half of the double feature this week, we will take a step again towards real life and feature another great documentary. We will look at the 2005 documentary The Heart of the Game.
The documentary centers on the girls’ basketball team at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, WA. The team hires a new head coach in Bill Resler. Resler is a professor at the University of Washington and loves the game of basketball. He channels that love into coaching the Roughriders. His goal for the team is to win the state basketball championship. The first year documented by the film shows the team bow out early in the state tournament.
One of the key components of Resler’s teams is a new theme every year. Each theme is a motivational tool that the team rallies around. They usually center around particular animals or nature. Resler uses this as a means to bring the team together and does a great job in the process.
The film highlights some key players over several years. One of those players is Darnellia Russell. Russell would develop into one of the star players for the Roughriders. Her progression as a player goes from a junior varsity to varsity player to a star on the team. However, things change as Russell would get pregnant after her junior year by her boyfriend and drop out of school. She would later return to school and return to the team. However, the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) deny her the right to play saying that students have only four years of eligibility unless there is a hardship. Russell was denied this since she was trying to play in a fifth year. The high school goes to court in support of Russell’s eligibility and she plays on a team that has a legit chance to win the state title. Do the Roughriders win on the court? Does Russell win in the courtroom? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
The documentary is narrated by Ludacris. It debuted in theaters on June 9, 2005. It was featured at several film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Seattle International Film Festival. The critics for the most part love the film as it received an 86% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Heart of the Game is available on DVD and Amazon Instant Streaming. This is one of those documentaries that draw you into the story. If you’re a fan of basketball, you’ll enjoy this story. Even if you’re not, it’s a great story involving real people. It’s a great documentary that you may not have seen, but you should.