Hoop Dreams Reviews

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Cole Smithey
ColeSmithey.com
July 16, 2013
Steve James's remarkable example of cinéma vérité tells the problematic journey of high school basketball stars William Gates and Arthur Agee, two African-American teenagers growing up in Chicago ghettos.
Full Review | Original Score: A+
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
August 7, 2011
It slam-dunks documentaries that are so close-up to their subjects they cannot note the irony of adult commercialism and hard-sell hoopla overwhelming barely literate kids.
Christopher Lloyd
Sarasota Herald-Tribune
January 24, 2011
Epic is a word that suits Hoop Dreams well: The film seems to encompass not just a few individuals' stories, but draw archetypes out of them to personify the larger world around.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Hollis Griffin
Common Sense Media
January 1, 2011
Stunning documentary, great for older kids.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
August 3, 2008
It's about three hours long. But it moves like Isiah, fast and smooth, and it's over in a heartbreak.
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
March 31, 2008
Hoop Dreams has shown us that the rules of the game are stacked against kids like Gates and Agee. Even better, it shows us how they fight back, with the inside moves of hope.

Film4
March 24, 2008
The result not only follows the lives of the boys as they mature into men, suffering success and disaster along the way, but also provides a picture of tough inner-city life shorn of glamour or unnecessary melodrama.
Pablo Villaca
Cinema em Cena
February 9, 2008
Ao acompanharem seis anos das vidas de sua dupla de protagonistas, James e sua equipe criaram um filme revelador, complexo e, acima de tudo, profundamente tocante.
| Original Score: 5/5
Rob Gonsalves
eFilmCritic.com
September 24, 2007
It's the closest movie equivalent to the great American novel I've seen in years.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 21, 2007
A heady dose of the American dream and the American nightmare combined -- a numbing investigation of how one point on an exam or one basket or turnover in a game can make all the difference in a family's fortunes.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
March 21, 2007
A prodigious achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length, Hoop Dreams is a documentary slam dunk.
Kim Newman
Empire Magazine
December 30, 2006
This is the best type of documentary, giving an intensely personal story you can't help but become involved in, and also raises fundamental issues about America in the 90s.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com
July 24, 2006
Boasting an epic scale, and a running time to match, this seminal docu, an absorbing anatomy of the American Dream in Chicago's inner-city, has more passion, compassion and suspense than most Hollywood fictional stories.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
June 24, 2006
Unforgettable.
Steve Crum
Video-Reviewmaster.com
April 13, 2006
Stunning documentary which should have won an Oscar.
| Original Score: 5/5
Top Critic
Douglas Pratt
Hollywood Reporter
June 8, 2005
An ironic drama so beautifully sculpted it could be transposed without alteration into a fictional film.
Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing
May 26, 2005
A remarkable film saturated with ironic twists, heartbreaking scenarios and moments of pure jubilation.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4

TV Guide's Movie Guide
July 30, 2003
One of the most widely discussed and well-received documentaries of the decade.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Neil Martin
Palo Alto Weekly
May 20, 2003
The viewer, like the boys' parents, coaches and friends, can't help but get caught up in Gates and Agee's dreams.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Caryn James
New York Times
May 20, 2003
The film's great achievement is to reveal the relentless way in which coaches and recruiters refuse to see Arthur and William as anything other than social cliches.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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