A fine doc. Worthy of a view especially if you are from a poor upbringing like myself. Was very similar to my childhood, except in the place of sports, I turned to music for escape. A very moving film to me. I am sure for others as well. A solid 4 stars
Amazed at how unpretentious this documentary was. Great to see both Agee and Gates as kids again at the end after watching them grow over 5 years in 3 hours. The narration and commentary added in were very well done, especially trying to get at the thoughts in everyones heads.
i was surprised i enjoyed this despite the fact that i'm not a "sports person". i was disappointed at the subtlety of the commentary on race & class -- it seemed more implied rather than explicit & i feel like they could have dug a lot deeper there.
Amazing that this started out being shot for a 30 minute PBS special about inner city basketball players and turned into one of the best documentaries in the world. Both inspiring and sad how the hopes of entire families rest on the shoulders of children. I like what Jr. says near the end – make it or not, I won't come back and stick up a store, or become a drug dealer. What a transformation we see in him.
This documentary does so many things perfectly. Perhaps the best touch is the way in which the filmmakers positioned themselves with regard to the families. They have an uncanny knack for capturing genuine emotion. The two subjects, William and Arthur, are lovable in the special way that only children are lovable. A true gem for sports fans and documentary enthusiasts.
The scope of this documentary is stunning and you'd be hard pressed to find another American film that feels so remarkably true to life for so many people in this country. The basketball element is merely a vehicle for a much larger discussion taking place about class, education, and the evolution of dreams.
Not just about basketball, this film examines the struggles that poor inner city youth face when chasing the "American Dream". Without the prospects of basketball scholarship college is an unattainable dream for these kids. Between playing basketball, working, attending school (possibly with a 3 hour daily commute), and picking a college, the teenagers this film follows have big problems to overcomes.
Hoop Dreams is about Basketball. But it's not about Basketball. It's about the perpetual struggle of families to carve out better futures for their children, the fight to rise up beyond where we come from to make something of our lives. The film's quiet examination of the lives of its two subjects captures the whole human condition, at times sickening, and times uplifting, all real. Extraordinary.
A comprehensive look into the hopes and failures of the American dream from among those on the lowest rung of the ladder. Problems of race, poverty, education, violence, capitalism, and welfare pop in and out never explicitly discussed, but existing in the background provoking questions. For most involved it seems that basketball, whether directly or indirectly, is the only hope of escape from poverty.
A touching, exhaustive, sensitive portrayal of two teens from freshman to senior year of high school. The film uses the power of lingering shots to make social criticisms, while still investing sincerely in its subjects (and not using them to make a point). A revelatory documentary.