Directed by Steve James
Steve James struck gold in 1994 with Hoop Dreams, a look at two young boys with hopes of entering the NBA. The documentary would earn a number of awards and accolades including the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie has also been placed in the National Film Registry.
James took his camera to the poor streets of Chicago to follow the high school basketball careers of William Gates and Arthur Agee. Both of the young boys had been recruited by a private school thanks to their talent on the courts. The recruitment came with the promise of scholarships and possibly a chance to go on to Division 1 schools. In this moving documentary the reality of a life based on basketball are revealed. The film captures the personal struggles these boys are asked to overcome while struggling to live up to the expectations of the teams they play for.
This is an eye-opening documentary that touches a range of emotions. The essential good of the film is the constant reminder that these are only boys. They’re living life in harsh conditions where their choices affect them and those around them. As the boys grow up before the camera it’s amazing to see the changes that come over both of them. Another strength of the movie is the way the family dynamics are shown in relationship to the way the boys are growing.
I would recommend this film for anyone who likes great documentaries. The movie doesn’t take a stance, but it opens up many doors. I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars.