Parents' Guide to

Hoop Dreams

By Hollis Griffin, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Stunning documentary addresses race and class issues.

Movie PG-13 1994 171 minutes
Hoop Dreams Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 13+

Top notch documentary...really for all to see and breathe in

It is easy to see why this documentary is so highly praised. It feels flawless because it takes its time and the story it is trying to tell is straight-forward but not at all simple. We grow with the prospects and are taken along on a very complex ride that exposes an intricate system that reveals itself layer by layer throughout the film. it is 2.5 hours but the time flies by because in many ways it is not enough time to reveal the lives and hopes of these young men and their families. My son is 3 and I am already plotting on when we will watch this film together, it's that important.
age 12+

The Greatest Documentary Ever Made

Hoop Dreams is a truly special film. Following the journeys of these two boys over several years results in one of the most honest depictions of American life I have ever seen. Its long and far from visually stunning. But some incredibly moving, emotional and tense moments that make up for its faults.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This film's greatest strength is that it is pragmatic before it is hopeful. James is careful to highlight the many obstacles standing in Gates and Agee's way: from corner drug dealers to test scores, from tuition payments at ritzy private schools to parental desertion. Rather than providing viewers with a candy-coated confection of "local boy makes good," Hoop Dreams illustrates how nearly impossible it is for such a story to even take place -- and that frequently it's a result of things completely out of the boys' control. The result is a searing portrait of inner-city life in America, and the extraordinary, downright unfair expectations placed on the shoulders of many young African-American athletes.

Hoop Dreams painstakingly tempers the romanticism characteristic high school athletes by paying special attention to the many roadblocks that stand in the way of Gates and Agee's dreams. This movie provides an excellent way for families to talk about issues such as race and class in urban America, long-term goals, teen sex and drug use, and getting good grades.

Movie Details

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