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The Heart of the Game (2005)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 96
Fresh: 83 | Rotten: 13

This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 38
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 7

This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 24,196

My Rating

Movie Info

Bill Resler was a professor at the University of Washington who had possessed a passionate interest in basketball. Resler decided to put his love of the game to work when he heard that Seattle's Roosevelt High School needed a coach for their women's basketball team. Despite having almost no experience as a coach, Resler landed the job, and soon began making a difference with the team, firing his players up with enthusiasm and encouraging them to think of themselves not as girl basketball

Feb 27, 2007


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All Critics (100) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (13) | DVD (8)

Girls have hoop dreams too. And dreams can come true at the final buzzer.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The film] covers seven years and touches on some of the same social issues that gave Hoop Dreams its epic sweep, yet Serrill fails to treat any of them adequately, and the narrative loses its shape as events unfold.

March 26, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The intrusive narration, from hip hopper Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, offers little sense of real lives unfolding, more of a way being paved to an, admittedly tense, all-American triumph-over-adversity climax.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Emotional, uplifting, vexing and infuriating, it's the first basketball documentary worthy of being compared to 1994's Hoop Dreams.

August 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sketchy as it can be at times, The Heart of the Game keeps us involved.

July 21, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An exhausting and thoroughly entertaining tale of race, fair play, loyalty, pregnancy and the true spirit of amateur athletics.

July 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Writer/director Ward Serrill's wonderful documentary, about a Seattle high school girls basketball team the Roughriders coached by the inspiring Bill Resler, is a "Hoop Dreams" of the early 21st century.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source:

So many astonishing and inspirational events take place that if The Heart Of The Game wasn't such a great documentary, it could have and should have been a box office hit drama.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

A nice little documentary that proves that nice guys, and nice girls, don't always finish last.

September 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

It doesn't seem appropriate to call it luck, but somehow Mr. Serrill ends up with a story that would make any Hollywood sports movie proud.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

Serrill does a good job of grounding the film with the conventions to suck you in and make the team likeable. But then the politics and real stories emerge, which makes the film truly stand apart from the crowd.

April 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Calgary Movies
Calgary Movies

Might best be thought of as a female version Hoop Dreams.

January 9, 2007 Full Review Source:

A true sports lover's delight.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Boredom and irritation set in early with this shallow, parochial and blandly celebratory documentary about a US high-school girls' basketball team, of frankly limited interest to non-US audiences.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian

It's packed with left-field twists and turns and culminates in a genuinely nail-biting match where old rivalries come to a head. In the end, it's all you can do not to stand up and cheer.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source:

It shifts focus too often to hang together as an in-depth portrait of either the unconventional coach or his headstrong star player.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A female version of Hoop Dreams.

December 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...a compelling and insightful glimpse into the convergence of perpetual teenage issues with modern high school athletics, with the entertainment value extending far beyond basketball fans.

August 31, 2006 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

The result is nothin' but net.

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Who needs faux melodramatic school sports stories when a real-life documentary like Heart of the Game shows it in living, breathing heart-wrenching color?

August 24, 2006 Full Review Source:

A filmmaker of great patience, Serrill chronicled Resler's teams for several years, demonstrating that if one sticks to a subject long enough, powerful things will emerge.

August 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

An astounding drama that spans seven years, wrestling with issues of race, gender and class while capturing the struggles of competition with intelligence and intimacy.

August 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Audience Reviews for The Heart of the Game

[font=Century Gothic]The one trap that a sports documentary should never fall into is to rely on the cliche of the big game that plagues their fictional counterparts. Remember, a documentary should provide information and give the audience food for thought before attempting to entertain the audience.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Take the pleasing documentary, "The Heart of the Game," for instance, which is about Bill Resler, a tax professor at the University of Washington who is hired to be the girls' basketball coach at Roosevelt High School. In his first year, through his innovative and unique methods, he coaches the team to the State Championships.(He is also maybe the most understanding coach in history.) In his second, talented but underachieving Darnellia Russell joins the team.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Documentarian Ward Serrill gets the ending he wanted but not quite the afterword. What troubles me most is that the viewer may have been manipulated into having a rooting interest for Roosevelt High School, even though there is an equally compelling story at rival Garfield High School.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Regretfully, the documentary only scratches the surface of the history of women's athletics. Any player may dream of going pro but that's what it mostly is, just a dream. The reality should be to concentrate on a player-athlete's education, getting her a scholarship to a university where she can continue her education and better her life.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]And is Seattle really that segregated? [/font]
November 5, 2007
Walter M.

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