A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Love & Basketball is a 2000 coming-of-age romance that follows a relationship between childhood neighbors through the ups and downs of their lives on and off the court. This movie has strong sexuality for a PG-13, including descriptions of some sexually aggressive women, a strip basketball game, and a scene of Monica and Quincy having sex that has no nudity but is fairly explicit -- and includes the obvious use of a condom. A character gets drunk when she finds out that her husband has been unfaithful. Quincy is drunk and surly at a college party where there's a lot of drinking. Profanity is regularly used, including "f--kin'" (used once). Other language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn," "bitch," "t-tties," "ass," "goddamn." Some sexual references are heard, such as "coochie," "bone," "get with you," "stick your thing in anything." The movie also explores issues of sexism in sports, and the double standards in how aggressive play from men is treated differently from aggressive play from women. It also explores the pressures that talented collegiate athletes face: whether to stay in college and earn a degree or turn pro in the hopes of making a large salary. The not-so-glamorous realities of professional basketball players who aren't playing on the NBA circuit is also shown. For families with aspiring athletes, these are all issues in the movie worth discussing.
What's the story?
Divided into quarters like a real basketball game, LOVE & BASKETBALL shows two basketball-obsessed kids, Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps), as they make friends on the court at age 11, play basketball in the same high school, then at the same college, and then go pro. As they deal with unfaithful, dishonest, and unsupportive parents; demanding coaches; hostile teammates; and the temptation of recruiters; their friendship blossoms into love, then hate, and back again.
Is it any good?
Funny how this likable movie is 20% about basketball and 80% about love, and you end up cheering the leads on for about 90% of it. You want these two rather stubborn and talented basketball players to realize they're meant for each other even more than you want them to win the big games or get the big sports scholarships. The chemistry is great between Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps.
If you're into the romance enough, you'll probably be forgiving as the pair face some standard-issue family conflicts and the old dating double standard: Quincy always seems to have a girl on his arm when Monica isn't around, and Monica stays true throughout the movie. But the characters experience plenty of positive growth, especially when Quincy confronts his philandering father, saying, "How come you couldn't be the man you kept trying to make me?"
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how people reconcile the demands of love, family, and career, and why it is that Monica and Quincy had so much trouble telling each other how they felt. Teens may also want to talk about the different views Monica and Quincy had of their relationship at different ages, and how the key element linking them through all was not basketball but friendship.
How does the movie explore some of the double standards of sexism in sport?
Besides the central story, what are some of the other themes the movie explores? For instance, how does the movie show the lives of professional basketball players who haven't made it to the NBA/WNBA elite? Or the choice gifted collegiate athletes must make between graduating from college or turning pro before earning a degree?
- In theaters: April 14, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: October 10, 2000
- Cast: Alfre Woodard, Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan
- Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual references, and sexual situations
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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