Filmed over a five-year period, Hoop Dreams follows two inner-city boys as they navigate the complex, competitive world of scholastic athletics and strive to overcome the intense pressures of family life and the realities of the Chicago streets.
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This film is often discussed in terms of its social context, as it should be, but watching it now, some two decades after the events depicted in the film, it reveals itself as a great human story of dreams and hopelessness. It's a deep, intimate story told on an epic scale.
(4.5) Turns out to be much more than a simple portait of kids with dreams of basketball, actually reaching far outside this frame to show a complex and harsh reality with echoes that are more or less present in all our lives. Easily the best sports movie I've ever seen and the one that most pregnantly has much more to say from the rare few that even possess this quality.
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.
Often cited as one of cinema’s greatest ever film docs, Hoop Dreams is perhaps a little long in the tooth, but despite it’s epic running length, it’s portrayal of unfulfilled dreams is rich in social context and is told at such an intimate level. Commendable.