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Sweetwater has a precious story in its hands, along with a sparkling cast of tried-and-true actors and a generous budget that allows them to go all in with the movie’s 1950s setting. But the parts are far greater than the sum here, because all together, Sweetwater is a mess. It promises to be a biopic about Clifton but fractures into many other things. During its duller parts, it’s a white savior story about basketball owners, and during its more vibrant parts, it’s a snapshot of the Harlem Globetrotters during their humble beginnings. The basketball matches themselves are playful and exciting to watch, but for every game, there is an overdramatic scene that cranks up the notch on sappy music and predictable dialogues. Often, it also feels like director Martin Guigui went to the Green Book School of Anti-prejudice, given his extremely elementary portrayal of racism and his preference for the white characters over the Black characters. Sweetwater isn’t watchable, but it’s a shame that the star of the film had to share the spotlight with less interesting personalities. 

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Ashani Roberts, Billy Malone, Cary Elwes, Dahlia Waingort, Delijah McAlpin, Eric Etebari, Eric Roberts, Ernest Harden Jr., Everett Osborne, Gary Clark Jr., Jason Sklar, Jeremy Piven, Jim Caviezel, Jim Meskimen, Kevin Pollak, Mike Starr, Paul Hipp, Preston Galli, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Ri'chard, Wayne Federman

Director: Martin Guigui