Love and Basketball

Omar Epps in Love and Basketball

 

The sports movie meets the romance in a boy-meets-girl drama featuring two affluent black kids. Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan play the basketball-playing next-door neighbours as grown-ups, the film having followed them from before puberty, through it and out into the world of professional sport and beyond. On the romance side it’s a “will-they-won’t-they” plot, in the sports arena it’s unusually focused on the daily decision-making and strategising of operating as a sports professional, where a career could be measured in months. On both sides it packs in most of the positive role models a body could need, carefully avoiding stereotyping (except that he’s hung), because that’s a bad thing. This film works hard to seduce its audience – music, shouting, foreplay, lovely interior design and countless baskets, not to mention the performances, by the stars and support (special mention to Alfre Woodward as Lathan’s mother). But though it’s refreshing to see the girl as the pursuer, and a totally ripped Epps as the eye candy, the film struggles to generate drama, particularly as its focus moves from her to him in the second half.

© Steve Morrissey 2001

 

Love and Basketball – at Amazon

 

 

4 thoughts on “Love and Basketball”

  1. I was watching a Lakers games when I first saw a commercial for Love & Basketball, so naturally it was comprised of mostly basketball action and a snippet of an adult version of the b-ball game HORSE. I thought, "oh, cute movie about a guy and girl who play basketball and get together". Not exactly earth-shattering, I thought, but cute. So imagine my surprise when I saw the film start like a cute movie but then evolve. And deepen. And bloom. I laughed, I sat on the edge of my seat in anticipation, and I swear I almost cried. A "cute" movie? This film had levels I hadn’t dreamed of and spoke to so much more than just sex and basketball, and yet all of it was held together cohesively by the love affair and the commitment to the sport. I was thoroughly impressed by the performances all around and by Ms. Prince-Blythewood’s unerring writing and direction. A definite recommendation.

  2. Follows the relationship of Monica and Q from elementary school, through high school, college, and life afterwards as they grow to maturity on the court and off. Sanaa Lathan is great as Monica, the girl who wants nothing more than to be the first woman to play in the NBA yet slowly begins to realize there is something greater missing from her life. Omar Epps does his usual fine performance as Q, a boy striving to be better than his NBA star father who learns that a man doesn’t necessarily have to be a star. The basketball scenes are well shot and pretty realistic in the aspect of how male and female teams are viewed by the fans. Overall a very enjoyable movie.

  3. First off, let me say that I am a huge fan of almost every sport known to mankind. Now perhaps because of this, you’d think I’d enjoy movies easier whose central theme revolves around a sport. Contrary to that notion though, I am often a hard rater of sports movies because I expect so much from them.

    I really enjoyed this movie though. I thought the acting by both Lathan and Epps was outstanding. I found it to be extremely realistic, with the exception of seeing Epps in a Laker uniform, but other than that, it was real. At one point during the film, I really started to wonder if this film was based on a true story or something, how cool would that have been. Nonetheless, the fictional story is captivating.

    Yes I am a guy and I love sports, but I do like watching the occassional love story. I liked Pearl Harbor and Titantic which revolved around love stories, and I liked this love story too. There is more to it though, than just two people who fall for each other who happen to play basketball.

    There is the relationship not only between Quincy and Monica, but the relationships they had with their father and mother respectively. There is also the relationship they have with the world they live in, trying to find out what they really want in life. It really makes you think about how sometimes the very thing you are looking for is actually standing right there in front of you and you don’t realize it.

    In the end, I loved Love and Basketball, and I give it a 10.

  4. "Love and Basketball" is one of the most feminist and non-stereotypical teen-through-20something movies I’ve ever seen.

    It’s in effect a tribute to Title IX and the WBNA, casually showing a girl with basketball dreams, and how it affects her personal life and those around her. Highly recommended for teens!

    As good as Omar Epps was though, I thought he was a bit short to be believable as an NBA prospect.

    Except for one talky section of the movie towards the end where everyone pretty much says the obvious about their relationships, the rest of the character development is done visually and through situations and not one sports movie (or African-American) cliché. It is a date movie because both leads change.

    Stay through the credits to see a sweet shot at the end.

    I was girding for a hip hop soundtrack, but it’s old school R & B all the way and lovely to listen to (complete with a wonderful line that the audience really appreciated: "Mom, why are you drinking? I haven’t seen you drink so much since Marvin Gaye died."

    (originally written 5/6/2000)

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