Linsanity (PG)

Documentary 88 October 4, 2013
By Amy Nicholson
What's important to Jeremy Lin? He'll rank it: No. 1: God. No. 2: School. No. 3: Basketball. Surprised that Lin ranks Christ above the court? You won't be after 15 minutes of Evan Jackson Leong's Linsanity-- if you're observant, you'll catch on as soon as the title flashes onscreen, the "t" in Linsanity proudly transformed into a cross. Leong stops short of showing us Lin crucified under a basketball net, but he at least presents the six-foot-three athlete as the NBA's Job, framing Lin with a digital background of thunder and lightning, and tracking the trials and tribulations he endured on his path to a three-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets. "I know God orchestrated this whole thing," says Lin of the tough times before his career-changing Two Weeks of Great Success with the New York Knicks. How about when Stanford, Lin's top college pick, declined to make the hometown hero an offer for racial reasons that Leong insinuates but doesn't investigate? "God made it very clear he wanted me to go to Harvard," Lin says, which raises the question: How? A burning bush that talks like Matt Damon? But Leong doesn't ask questions—he's here to proselytize, and he sees Lin as the perfect parable of faith, humility, and sweat. Linsanity doesn't-- and shouldn't-- hide its star's religious beliefs. But the doc should have the courage to explore them. Instead, Leong poses one big question that neither he nor Lin dare answer: Is Lin most valuable as a mascot? As the first Asian-American NBA star in a generation, he's popularizing basketball abroad and selling jerseys at home. And if he is a better figurehead than point guard, is that so wrong? Even Leong himself is less interested in who Lin is than what he represents. He wants-- and gets-- a cardboard hero.
Evan Jackson Leong Jeremy Lin, Ming Yao, Shirley Lin, Landry Fields, Mike D'Antoni Christopher C. Chen, Allen Lu, Brian Yang Ketchup Entertainment

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