“Believe in Me” is a feel-good movie about a coach (Jeffrey Donavan, aka That Dude From Burn Notice) who comes to a new job expecting to coach boys high school basketball and ends up being assigned to the girls’ team. It’s about how he struggles with the decision of whether to stay coaching them, the uphill battle with locals who don’t take girls seriously, and a mean (basically pure evil) guy who owns everything in town and tries to run him off from the start.
It’s also basically Hoosiers for Feminists. The strongest people in the story are the women – the coaches’ wife (Samantha Mathis, aka That Gal from a Bunch of TV Stuff), their mothers, the players. The coach’s weaknesses and how he overcomes them are one the major arcs – though he’s stubborn and hardworking, he’s socially inept and initially reluctant to do the right thing. The main villain is not only willing to destroy any good thing to maintain power but, being a he, is also a dude. A couple of key plot points and turns rely on the players being girls and their role and status in society at that time, which gives it a unique feel. Law takes a role – playing within the system takes a role. It’s more humane, less patriotic, than Hoosiers.
Now. To be clear – this is kind of cheesy, and slow at times. But it’s uplifting. It’s well shot. The attention to detail in the period is pretty remarkable. If you’re looking for a movie to inspire a girl between ages 6-12 to play ball, it may do it.
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