Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
The Heart of the Game is a lively, perceptive picture of young women in sport – and a portrait of an inspired and inspiring coach. In particular, it’s about the challenges facing a brilliant young basketball player who seems bent on sabotaging a potentially glorious career. Bill Resler, a tax professor and father of three daughters, steps in, with little relevant experience, to help out with a team in a middle-class, mostly white Seattle school. Resembling a jovial Santa Claus, he cultivates a great rapport with the girls, who soon begin to thrive as a team. He meets his match when Darnellia Russell, an extraordinarily agile, gifted African-American player from the inner city, joins the team. Not all the action is in the sports arena in a film bound to induce more heart-thumping excitement – and more tears – than many of the features on this year’s programme.
“A smartly paced chronicle that nails the socialization of girls, the costs of playing ball, and the perils of female adolescence… Hoop Dream, move over!” — B. Ruby Rich, San Francisco Bay Guardian