Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    90
    The movie is a volatile combination of ambitious mythmaking and nasty reality, and like most of Spike Lee’s work, it is also an inextricable combination of good and bad.
  2. 88
    Lee uses visual imagination to lift his material into the realms of hopes and dreams.
  3. As is often the case with Lee, though, the film left me wishing for even more scenes of casual intimacy, still the most powerful way to carry any message.
  4. As usual, Lee tries many kinds of stylistic effects and uses wall-to-wall music (by Aaron Copland and Public Enemy); what’s different this time is how personally driven the story feels.
  5. Basketball, bold urban landscapes, larger-than-life characters and red-hot visual pyrotechnics are the strong points of Mr. Lee's biggest three-ring circus, not to mention the central presence of Denzel Washington.
  6. He Got Game seems to cheer for integrity, honesty and hard work while playing up its own cheap thrills.
  7. Its best moments are as exuberant and insightful as anything the screen has given us this season, and its passionate concern for believable characters in a recognizably real world offers a refreshing change from the current spate of feel-good fantasies.
  8. 75
    This is essentially a familiar story told with consummate skill.
  9. Reviewed by: Gary Kamiya
    70
    Awkward and often downright silly, He Got Game is nonetheless heartfelt, a moving portrayal of a man who finds his long-lost son through faith, hope and basketball.
  10. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Uneven, ludicrous, but--oh man!--fun to watch.
  11. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Flaws and all, this may be Spike's most purely enjoyable movie, and his best looking
  12. For all his superfan's intimacy with b-ball culture, he focuses less on the sport's fascinating mystique than on generic recapitulation of how celebrity culture seduces and devours young minority athletes.
  13. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    60
    Lacking the moral indignation, outrage and militant politics that marked Lee's earlier work, this vibrantly colorful film is a tad too soft at the center, and arguably the director's most mainstream movie.
  14. He got too much movie. That's the scoring total on Spike Lee's He Got Game, which ultimately must be judged a mild disappointment.
  15. Reviewed by: Bruce Diones
    60
    The film is gorgeously shot (slow-motion basketballs spin in the air like Kubrick's spaceships), and the majestic Aaron Copland score helps some of the images to soar, but Lee's screenplay, heavy-handed and didactic, gives the actors little room to convey any real emotions.
  16. 50
    Though too long by a good half hour, Lee's latest film packs a genuine emotional punch, largely because its polemical agenda doesn't entirely eclipse the drama.
  17. The problem, sadly, is that the whole amounts to less than the sum of its parts.
  18. Reviewed by: Tom Meek
    50
    Lee makes a great looking film, though the soap box message about greed becomes exhausted and overplayed early on.
  19. Coming from a major director like Spike Lee, this is a colossal disappointment. And a surprising one.
  20. 20
    There's not a relationship in He Got Game that feels right, especially the one between Washington and Allen, and if that doesn't work, neither does the film.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Nov 21, 2014
    8
    He Got Game totally is one of Spike Lee's Joints best. Ray Allen is a rarity, an athlete that can act. Denzel Washington delivers as always.ItHe Got Game totally is one of Spike Lee's Joints best. Ray Allen is a rarity, an athlete that can act. Denzel Washington delivers as always.It may not have been a box office success but Spike Lee should be proud of this amazing film Full Review »
  2. SeanK
    Jun 10, 2009
    9
    Coming off a series of mediocre films to say the least, Spike Lee presents us with perhaps his best film since Malcolm X. The movie flows Coming off a series of mediocre films to say the least, Spike Lee presents us with perhaps his best film since Malcolm X. The movie flows with a certain ingenuity that keeps the viewers locked in even when the movie and script all together sems to falter. Combined with some stunning cinematography and great acting from Denzel Washington, He Got Game's low points are surely overshadowed by its High Points and the fact that well....Spike Lee has finally given us a film worthy of seeing in theatres since Malcolm X. Full Review »
  3. JoshC.
    Feb 3, 2007
    9
    "He Got Game" ranks alongside, Do the Right Thing, Clockers, Malcom X, 25th hour, and When the Leeves Broke as one of Spike's best "He Got Game" ranks alongside, Do the Right Thing, Clockers, Malcom X, 25th hour, and When the Leeves Broke as one of Spike's best films. A very moving and underrated movie. Full Review »