Hot Docs 2023: Stephen Curry: Underrated

Directed by: Peter Nicks
Distributed by: Apple TV+

Written by Taylor Baker


“Stephen Curry: Underrated” details some of the major moments in the three-point shooter’s rise to popularity through his feats in high school, college, and professional basketball. Though it’s more of cursory toe dip into the life of the man, his family, and his accomplishments than a true exploration of greatness, tenacity, or any other adjective one might use to describe the shooter with the most three-point scores in NBA history. It’s almost too simplistic in its presentation, too glowing in its absence of the darker psychological aspects that come from playing a sport at the highest level that beats your body down. Sure, they show a brief montage of him grimacing and powering through a persistent ankle injury but they fail to explore the mental side of his perseverance through the injuries, instead Peter Nicks and the filmmaking team voice many instances of Curry’s gumption and ability to come back and try after failing as one of if not his greatest traits.

Despite it’s largely restrained by the book presentation, it does give audiences (like me) that are unfamiliar with much of Curry’s life or the NBA, in general, an easy way in to understand his unorthodox rise from short high school hooper to one of the most popular basketball figures playing today. There’s something charming if not rote in hearing his mother explain how Stephen sulked over a summer while trying to mature his shooting skills, or in his coach detailing how Stephen’s mother took away his phone after he’d received a text from a friend who used profane language. They’re small tidbits that feel carefully selected and curated but they bring an essence of charm to the understated pro. “Stephen Curry: Underrated” isn’t quite the polished sports documentary you’d hope for, but neither is it the wholly empty bit of PR content that so many sports documentaries have become.

“Stephen Curry: Underrated” was screened as part of the 2023 edition of the Hot Docs film festival.

You can follow more of Taylor’s thoughts on film on LetterboxdTwitter, and Rotten Tomatoes.

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