Is Boogie a True Story?

Written and directed by author Eddie Huang, ‘Boogie’ is a sports drama film that captures the struggles of a basketball phenom, Alfred “Boogie” Chin, who dreams of playing the game on the grandest stage possible, i.e, NBA. Unfortunately, his parents aren’t supportive of his dreams and they instead expect Alfred to earn a scholarship to an elite college, something he is not interested in. So, when Alfred finds himself in a spot, he understands that now is the time for him to face his rivals, both on and off the court, with the same intensity.

The story of Alfred can resonate with a lot of youngsters who feel the burden of their parent’s expectations and bury their own dreams to achieve what their parents want. Moreover, his heroic effort to continue pursuing his dreams despite the odds might make some viewers wonder whether ‘Boogie’ is rooted in reality. Let’s explore the origins of the story to understand if that is the case or not.

Is Boogie Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Boogie’ is not based on a true story. Basketball enthusiasts might watch the film and get the wrong idea that it is based on Jeremy Lin, who plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA, but nothing can be further from the truth. Although Lin’s inspiring journey, which later culminated into phenomenal performances on the court, might have become a hot-topic for NBA fans, he is not the inspiration for the film. Except for their Asian roots, there is nothing in common between Alfred “Boogie” Chin and Jeremy Lin. But that raises an interesting question: what inspired Eddie Huang to make the film?

While talking about the film with Entertainment Weekly, Eddie Huang revealed that it was ‘Good Will Hunting’ that influenced him to make a movie like ‘Boogie’. He explained, “That movie was the moment where I said, I would like to make a film that changes another kid’s life.” The director continued, ”The way that they were able to humanize domestic violence and those relationships, opened my eyes because I didn’t know you could talk about stuff like that in movies.”

He also conceded that the culture that he was raised in played a big role in the script that he wrote for the film. In another interview, Eddie mentioned that the script itself is not something extraordinary, but in fact, it is just like any other coming-of-age basketball film. However, he immediately clarified that ‘Boogie’ is special because it brings an Asian-American into the picture and discusses the struggles of the community while also intersecting with the Black culture at the same time.

In one of the scenes, ‘Boogie’ even talks about how people usually don’t have faith in Asian American basketball players, which gives an insight into the struggles of a typical Asian player in America. However, one should not get the wrong impression; Huang did not want to present ‘Boogie’ as an Asian American film. Although the movie does talk about the experiences of an Asian American, Huang wanted to expose the audience to the convergence of various racial experiences in the country.

So, even though ‘Boogie’ is not based on a true story, it does try to speak about the struggles and stereotypes that Asians have to confront in America. Alongside that, with the intersection of the Black culture, the movie also broadens its horizons and does not limit itself. Therefore, the viewers still have a lot to learn from the film even though it’s merely a work of fiction.

Read More: Where Was Boogie Filmed?