Just watched "Love and Basketball" with my 13 year old and it's a new favorite, both for taking the viewpoint of a smart, strong, but conflicted young woman, and for presenting a non-stereotyped relationship between two young African Americans, (both from well-off, intact families, with loving parents and siblings; both college educated).
Monica and Quincy meet as 11 year olds when her family moves next door to his, and she promptly beats him in a basketball game. They grow into highly competitive players with an affectionate brother/sister relationship; one of the most touching scenes is Monica wordlessly letting Quincy climb into her room to sleep when his parents are having an argument.
Both are recruited to play college ball at UCS and they become lovers (in a very passionate, yet chastely filmed scene).The contrast between how men's vs women's sports are treated is made very clear: Quincy is constantly surrounded by adoring fans and weaselly recruiters; Monica feels unjustly punished for an aggressive "attitude" that would be celebrated in a man but makes her seem "unladylike". The night before Monica's key game, she refuses to break curfew for Quincy, fearing she might get cut from the team. Quincy, going through a crisis with his father, declares her to be "unsupportive", and breaks up with her. They eventually reunite years later, and in the final scene it is Monica on the court with the WNBA while her adoring husband and baby daughter cheer her on from the sidelines.
So, awesome sports movie primarily from the woman's point of view, and where her ambition is the one realized. Also, a terrific mother/daughter film: Monica feels constantly criticized by her traditionally feminine mother, who seems to prefer her more "girly" sister. Mother and daughter have it out late in the film: the mother (played by the wonderful Alfre Woodard) resents Monica's condescension towards her as a housewife, and Monica is hurt that her mother never cared about her talent for sports. The film doesn't take sides, but empathizes with both women.
A few concerns: there is a lot of raw language, and the teen girls at M and Q's school dress very seductively and do a lot of dirty dancing, (Monica does not, which is one of the reasons we like her). No violence, no drugs, minimal drinking. Monica and Quincy have sex, but there is no promiscuous, gratuitous sex, and it's clear the two of them love each other. Great for 13 and up.