Published Apr 01, 2000Love and Basketball follows the intertwined lives of two talented young basketball players with dreams of super-stardom. Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) are the two equally talented players who are best friends and eventual lovers, with the perfect chemistry of a competitive love/hate relationship right from their very first meeting. The film is divided into four quarters, using the structure of a basketball game to tell their story, begining when tomboy Monica moves in next door to Quincy at age 11, and following them through their high school glory days and college freshman year to their post-graduate reality. Although the film centres around their relationship, it is definitely more her story than his, often delving into issues of the relative obscurity of women's sports and the treatment of female athletes in America. Lathan and Epps do well at imbuing their characters with the mixture of swaggering confidence, naked insecurity, and extreme stubbornness that makes their relationship explosive. Writer/director Gina Prince takes her time in exploring the relationship at each stage of the game, while keeping the story tightly focused on the two leads and their families. The most interesting aspect of the film involves the characters having to face the possibility that their dreams might not materialise in the way they had envisioned. The decidedly un-Hollywood concepts of compromise and readjusting dreams to suit reality are explored in both the main characters and in subplots about the parents who influenced them. Unfortunately, the film's ending wraps everything up a little too neatly and quickly to lend these ideas the weight they deserve.