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Now showing at Amersham Arms 388,New Cross Road,London,London SE14 6TY 020 8469 1499

  • New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival 2015: Love & Basketball

Love & Basketball 3 stars

Eleven-year-olds Quincy and Monica meet for the first time on the basketball court and are instantly drawn to one another. Over the years, as they both pursue their dream of becoming professional basketball stars, the pair's relationship blossoms into love but the pressures of having to perform for increasingly demanding coaches, and be better than everyone else, takes a terrible toll.

  • GenreAction, Drama, Romance
  • CastSanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan.
  • DirectorGina Prince-Bythewood.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration124 mins
  • Official site
  • Release07/07/2000 (selected cinemas)

Sexual discrimination off and on the basketball court, and the love affair of two players both following the same dreams, inspires writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood's impressive feature debut. Eleven-year-olds Quincy (Glenndon Chatman) and Monica (Kyla Pratt) meet for the first time in 1981 on the basketball court and are instantly drawn to one another. Quincy isn't quite sure what to make of a girl who is just as good at the game as him, and Monica is rather put off by his boastfulness. Moving forward to 1988, the pair (now played by Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan) are minor stars at high school - they both demonstrate the same abilities but since basketball is ostensibly a man's game, Quincy gets all the breaks. He is pursued doggedly by college scouts and plans a press conference to announce his choice; she must wait nervously to hear whether she has secured a scholarship. They attend their prom with separate dates but spend the evening staring doe-eyed at one another. There's a definite bond between them, perhaps even love, but both are committed to following their sporting dreams. Their first years at college are problematic - Quincy learns that his basketball star father (Dennis Haysbert), the man he has idolised all of his life, is a womaniser in a series of tabloid splashes; Monica is pushed to breaking point by her coach who knows that she will have to work that much harder to earn respect. Both are aggressive on court but since Monica is a young woman, her behaviour is rebuked while Quincy's antics are celebrated as part and parcel of the great game. As their feelings for one another intensify, the couple agonise about the crossroads that lies ahead: love or basketball. As the film's title suggests, perhaps they can have both. Filmed from a female perspective, Love & Basketball is an honest and engaging account of the inconsistencies in the treatment of men and women athletes, spiked with a pleasant if somewhat predictable love story. Lathan is gifted the lion's share of the film and shines on the court (she reportedly trained for six months to perfect her technique) and easily passes for a teenager in the 1980s section. Epps never passes for a high school student in the earlier sections but comes into his own later on, generating a fair amount of sexual energy around his would-be lover. Unlike the majority of sports movies, basketball is not the be all and end of Prince-Bythewood's film, nor is the fact that almost all of the actors are African-American (the screenplay is colour blind). It's also important to note that while this is a female-slanted picture, there is a reasonable equality in Quincy and Monica's abilities - although the latter is given slightly more screen time to prove hers.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Sunday 26th April 2015
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