The Heart of the Game (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Heart of the Game (2005)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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Movie Info

When Seattle filmmaker Ward Serrill met Bill Resler, a college tax professor who moonlights as a girls' basketball coach, he didn't realize that he was about to embark on an incredible seven-year journey. Serrill, camera in hand, followed Resler -- who looks more like Santa Claus in Birkenstocks than a whistle-blasting high school coach -- into the Roosevelt High School gym and soon discovered a group of girls whose unbridled toughness, passion and energy he came to call "The Heart of the Game." Then, one day, onto the Roughriders' court (and into the film) walked Darnellia Russell -- a tough, inner-city girl whose off-court struggles would eventually threaten to crash the star athlete's plans to play college ball and be the first person in her family to get a college education. At the center of "The Heart of the Game" is Darnellia's unforgettable true story -- the loss of her eligibility and her legal battle to get back on court to play the game that means everything to her. With Coach Resler, her team and her family standing by her side, she takes on enormous personal obstacles as well as the ruling body of high school sports in Washington State.

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Cast

Mackenzie Argens
as The Roughriders
Molly Boyd
as The Roughriders
Colleen Bresee-Woods
as The Roughriders
Alex Capelotto
as The Roughriders
Jen Cheun Bouddy
as The Roughriders
Korleana Davico
as The Roughriders
Ariel Evans
as The Roughriders
Alaina Forbes
as The Roughriders
Breianna Gaines
as The Roughriders
Tammy Hartung
as The Roughriders
Johanna Hase
as The Roughriders
Mattie Hesch
as The Roughriders
Corry Holme
as The Roughriders
Libby Jansen
as The Roughriders
Kimmy Kirkwood
as The Roughriders
Jamie McIntyre
as The Roughriders
Laura Mohler
as The Roughriders
Colleen Mori
as The Roughriders
Anne Moxon
as The Roughriders
Betsey Neel
as The Roughriders
Angela Nefcy
as The Roughriders
Monica Nelson
as The Roughriders
Piper Nims
as The Roughriders
Rachel Nord
as The Roughriders
Amanda Ostrom
as The Roughriders
Morgan Patterson
as The Roughriders
J'Nai Pich
as The Roughriders
Erin Pursell
as The Roughriders
Allison Reiman
as The Roughriders
Anna Sarff
as The Roughriders
Maggie Torrance
as The Roughriders
Amber Warren
as The Roughriders
Jamila Bates
as The Bulldogs
Kaneshia Brooks
as The Bulldogs
Delaney Conway
as The Bulldogs
Nicole Higgins
as The Bulldogs
Anna Johnsen
as The Bulldogs
Laura Kanter
as The Bulldogs
Jazmyne Kendrick
as The Bulldogs
Ashley Knight
as The Bulldogs
Briana Lewis
as The Bulldogs
Ashley Mitchell
as The Bulldogs
Neal Natasha
as The Bulldogs
Mitia Oliver
as The Bulldogs
Kanika Rogers
as The Bulldogs
Brenia Sherrod
as The Bulldogs
Tashara Simpson
as The Bulldogs
Tashara Ticeson
as The Bulldogs
Samantha Tinned
as The Bulldogs
Jessica Tinned
as The Bulldogs
Quanitta Underwood
as The Bulldogs
Laura Washington
as The Bulldogs
Robyn Williams
as The Bulldogs
Chanieka Williams
as The Bulldogs
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News & Interviews for The Heart of the Game

Critic Reviews for The Heart of the Game

All Critics (96) | Top Critics (38)

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

August 1, 2008 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top 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…
Chicago Reader
Top 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…
Time Out
Top Critic

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

August 18, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

July 21, 2006 | Rating: B
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

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

July 21, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
Denver Post
Top Critic

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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

GO ROUGHRIDERS!!! Russell has the courage that everyone should have. Fight for your dreams...make it happen no matter what. Bravo to Resler for making it happen and believing in "his girls".

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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