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The Diva's review of
Hustle and Flow (2005)

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Hustle and Flow Rated R; running time of 1 hour 54 minutes
Genre: Drama
Written by: Craig Brewer
Directed by: Craig Brewer
Cast: Terrence Dashon Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, Elise Neal, DJ Qualls, Ludacris
Director: Craig Brewer
Producers: Stephanie Allain, John Singleton
Screenplay: Craig Brewer
Cinematography: Amy Vincent

WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.

The Digest

DJay (Terrence Dashon Howard ) is at a crossroads in his life and looking for a drastic change. You see, DJay is a pimp and small time drug dealer, but one might call him a hustler. He’s not very good at either vocation, but he is doing everything he can to keep a roof over his head. In his employ are Nola (Taryn Manning); a young white girl who worships the ground he walks on, she is also his cash cow; Lexus (Paula Jai Parker) loud mouthed and disrespectful stripper who resents having to turn tricks and has no real regard for DJay; and finally ,Shug (Taraji P. Henson), a sweet and shy woman who is currently pregnant and therefore not on the streets.

One night, in exchange for drugs, a man gives him a little Casio piano – you know the one with about 30 keys and runs on batteries. When DJay gets home, he begins tinkering with it and a long buried dream bubbles to the surface. He remembers his love of music and his ability to “flow”. Djay can Rap his behind off and on a chance meeting at the corner grocery store he runs into Key (Anthony Anderson). DJay and Key went to school together. Turns out Key is a producer and he invites him to check out his flow – at church. DJay so is moved by the church music that he makes the decision right then and there – he going to give up the life and cut a demo. He then plans to give the demo to Skinny Black (Ludacris). A big time rapper from the area who is coming home. Forever the hustler, he devises a story to get close to him and prays that it will work and give him the start he needs. Will his plan work? Will he be able to give it all up and go legit?

The Dish

I’ve complained many a time about the negative images of black people that has graced the screen. I’m just sick and tired of it. I headed to this movie filled with dread and trepidation. “How could they make a story about a pimp who has an identity crisis and wants to become a rapper”, I asked. In fact even as I sat down, I rolled my eyes. Then DJay opened his mouth and began to speak. As he explained the difference between men and dogs, I was hooked. What he said was kind of stupid and didn’t make that much sense, but the lyrical sound of his voice when he caressed each word of his Tartantinoesque monologs caused my jaw to drop. This wasn’t going to be just an ordinary pimp and ho movie, I knew I was looking at something brilliant.

So what is it about this movie that is essentially about misogynistic man who through his chosen vocation is the scourge of the earth? I know. I know. Believe me I’m baffled too, but what it boils down to is; we all have dreams and we all know what it’s like to feel stuck. I wanted – no I needed DJay to succeed – for me and for every person who has ever struggled to make a dream come true. Djay needed to succeed for Shug. I know Shug. I know the woman who she is in the lives of women all over the world. She’s in my family; a woman who has- just been beaten by life. A skittish woman who jumps at her own shadow. One who has been misused and abused so much that it doesn’t even faze her anymore. But this woman would give you the shirt off of her back and you know that once you see a smile that spread from her heart to her eyes, you can die happy. That was Shug. The look on her face when she hears herself on the demo is pure magic. When she finally realizes that she can do something that is useful. You and I know she can, but she has to know it for herself. I also had to crack a smile at Nola for blossoming into the business woman she always should have been.

Terrence Howard and Anthony Anderson are absolutely amazing. Terrence became DJay and he soaked up the south. He was a son of Memphis without any questions. I don’t think you could listen to him and not think he was straight out of Memphis. His performance was so raw and rough, but it pulls at the heartstrings. It’s early in the game, but I’m predicting some Oscar nominations. I’m not sure how you can look at Terrence’s and Taraji’s performances and not be impressed. I know the character is not exactly likeable, but so what. And there will be critics from the community who complain about such a character receiving accolades and that’s okay.

They other stars of the film didn’t have any speaking parts. The city and the music. Director Brewer, chose to shoot the film in such a way that made the audience a part of the movie. I don’t mean interactive or like a 3-D movie. I mean it was shot unglamoursly and raw. I felt like I was melting in that heat with DJay. I needed to escape the hot and miserable weather. I felt trapped with him. And hthat music was the bomb. I don’t even care for 99% of the Rap out there, but I tell you what, I will be buying that CD. I certainly can’t relate to the music, but before I knew it, I was bouncing and bumping “Whup that trick, whup that trick!” and “You know it’s hard out here on a pimp..” Kudos, cast and crew of Hustle and Flow, kudos.

The Directive

Not only do you need to get other there and support this film, you need to see it twice and buy the DVD when it comes out.

green

Look past the occupations of the main characters and see Hustle and Flow for what it is. A movie about chasing a dream and doing almost anything to achieve it.


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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2005
EMAIL: thediva@3black chicks.com
ICQ: 8690410
http://www.3blackchicks.com/

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed 07-22-05):

The Diva's reviews:
The Devil’s Rejects | The Bad News Bears |Hustle and Flow|The Island


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