'Linsanity' Review: Doc Highlights Point Guard's Prowess, Faith in a Higher Power
Charles Barkley famously complained that he isn't a role model, and he was right--technically.
Sports figures don't earn their pay by telling kids to stay in school or modeling appropriate behavior. They're hired to score touchdowns, smack home runs and slap the puck in the net.
Jeremy Lin, the Harvard graduate with a deep faith in God who became a sensation for the New York Knicks, could certainly teach people plenty about life off the court.
It's an undercurrent of the entertaining new documentary Linsanity, now playing in theaters nationwide. Director Evan Jackson Leong keeps the focus primarily on Lin--one longs for more seasoned analysis of his skills and in-depth, original comments from his teammates. The subject is still more than fascinating enough to power a documentary, particularly when Lin's magical Knicks run takes over the film.
Linsanity documents the subject's close-knit family, one which allowed him to develop a love for the sport of basketball that kept under-selling his potential.
He just didn't fit the mold, we're told.
That soft bigotry followed the Asian athlete all the way to the Big Apple's storied Madison Square Garden, but he never let it defeat him.
We see plenty of home footage along the way and watch as Lin fails repeatedly when he tries to crack several NBA team rosters. His unyielding faith and talent simply won't let him fade away like so many athletes who are good--but not good enough--to play with the elites.
Linsanity observes Lin's faith with respect, and his beliefs don't overwhelm the narrative. Anyone who caught Lin's tenure with the Knicks two years ago knows that isn't possible. For that moment, he was the talk of the NBA, and through the documentary we learn the heart-warming elements behind that sensational headlines.
Learning how Lin handled his feelings toward NBA great Kobe Bryant, turning a flash of anger into a moment of prayer and peace, is to see what truly makes Lin, well, worthy of role model status.