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Hustle & Flow
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Reviews & Ratings for
Hustle & Flow More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A combination of strong acting, realistic direction, nice music and real emotions

Author: christian123
28 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

D-Jay (Terrence Howard) is a pimp from Memphis trying to do more with his life. When he learns that a hugely successful rapper, played by Ludicrous, is returning home to Memphis, he plans to become a rapper himself, writing songs about life as a pimp in hopes of being discovered.

Hustle and Flow is an inspiring, engaging and intense film of becoming something. The majority of the film is realistic with relatable characters and situations. It shows the many struggles of life and it proves that hard work does pay off. The beginning of the film was a little tough to watch because of the living style of the main characters. It was a little scary to see what some people have to do just to get by. I think director Craig Brewer did a fine job at portraying these situations without making them seem too cheesy or over the top. The second half of the film focused on D-Jay and his struggles to find his right music. The music is surprisingly good and meaningful. I say "surprisingly" because rap doesn't really interest me but the film actually made it tolerable.

The lyrics don't hold back and they may be offensive to some. I thought they were okay and they had more to do about life rather than the usual stuff you hear in rap songs. My favorite scenes were the ones that took place in the recording room. As cheesy as this may sound, they were more inspirational and engaging. It showed different types of people working together and coming up with some nice material. The final act features D-Jay meeting with Skinny Black and hoping his songs get picked up by him. The conversation between Skinny and D-Jay was pretty good but it was also a little depressing. It's sad to have someone lie right to your face about how good you are and then find your music in the toilet. It just shows how tough the real world is and it makes D-Jay tougher for not giving up. The ending wasn't as strong as everything else. It was a little cheesy and unrealistic. However in some ways, it was nice to see a sort of happy ending.

The acting is terrific and everyone gives a good performance. Terrence Howard plays D-Jay and he gives a very engaging performance. His character isn't very likable but it was easy to root for him. His performance was just that good. Taryn Manning is just as good as Terrence and she also deserved an Oscar nomination. I can't believe this is the same girl from Crossroads considering her performance is really strong. I don't really like Anthony Anderson but even he gave a good performance and it was easily his best performance ever. Taraji P. Henson and DJ Qualls are also just as good as the other actors. Personally, I think Ludicrous gave a better performance in this film than in Crash.

While the film is pretty good, it's not for everyone. Most of the characters are unlikable due to their lifestyles and attitudes. Some people may find it hard to care about these characters if they think so low about them. Also, the women in this movie are mistreated and some people may be disgusted by this. The story is also unoriginal and it there were a few clichés. Personally, I thought that the acting and the direction were strong enough to overcomes these weaknesses. In the end, Hustle and Flow is a difficult film to watch at times but it's still a strong film that's worth checking out. Rating 9/10

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great performance in the lead but the material isn't all that it needs to be and slips away totally at the end (minor spoilers)

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
21 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

DJay is a smalltime pimp, selling his one or two worn girls out of his battered Cadillac or seedy strip-joints. However time has worn his enthusiasm for the game and he longs for more. Meeting up with an old classmate who has recording experience, DJay sees the opportunity to take his experience and use it to make his dreams come true through hip-hop. His aspirations cannot get him away from the reality of his situation but the impending visit of local rapper-made-good Skinny Black could be the break he needs.

It is not possible to talk about this film without focusing on the person that really puts it all on his back and carries it from start to finish – Terrence Howard. Never someone who has impressed me, Howard did well in a small role in Crash and has improved again to produce a convincing central performance here. DJay could have been a big cliché played by a rapper that deeply enjoys the credibility of the pimp role but in Howard's hands the role is much closer to being a real person. He doesn't enjoy the pimp life so much as convincingly mire himself in it – his eyes are filled with an anger and pain that say more about the person than a thousand Jay-Z songs ever will. His character is key to the film and it is Howard that makes this part work.

The rest of the film is more or less worthy of him but loses its way right at the end. For the majority we are allowed to act as witnesses without sides in his story – we aren't pushed to see him as a good man or a bad man, nor to allow the fact he might be "good deep down" to excuse his violent exploitation of women. It is a fine line but the film balances it well. This success helps to make the plot more interesting considering that it is only ever a note away from being just one big "making it out the hood" movie. The scenes of hip-hop hope are a bit cheesy but they are well balanced out by the sleazy and unglamorous reality of the lifestyle. It could have been deeper and more about the characters but it is still interesting enough to do well – up to a point.

Unfortunately this point is about 20 minutes before the end of the film when suddenly Brewer abandons his approach and falls back on cliché, easy options and, worst of all, an optimistic ending that sees him holding DJay up in a way that he had mostly manage to avoid doing. The whole end flies in the face of what had gone before and throws off the balancing act it had done up till that point. It is a shame because it should have been more downbeat and interesting but instead it takes the line of least resistance. It may have been Brewer but, in his defence, it does smell slightly like the work of a studio executive or an American test audience. It still just about works although not even Howard can cover the disappointing in the final act.

The rest of the cast do well to help him. Usually Anderson is enough to make me avoid a film but, as with the most recent series of The Shield, he shows that he can act and has a solid serious side. He is good and surprisingly unshowy support for Howard. Manning is good as Nola but again the end of the film sees her betrayed and asked to be something she is not. The vulnerable and pregnant Shug is really well delivered by Henson; her character may be simple on paper but she does well to be really quite touching and sympathetic. Parker has a black cliché in her finger-clicking, swearing performance but she is good enough to do the job without dragging the rest down a notch. Ludicrous (who also impressed me in Crash) is pretty close to his rapping personae in an easy role but he deserves credit for taking a beating on screen and being convincing in his one role. Hayes is a bit distracting in such a small role but again is a nice addition.

Overall this is a pretty good film that pulls off the balancing act and avoids judgement for the majority, helped in no small way by a very strong turn from Howard. However at the end it undoes all this god work with an ending that is so easy and pat that I genuinely doubted it had been delivered by the same person who had written and directed the first two-thirds. Close to cliché and corn at times but it mostly mixes them well and the film is worth seeing.

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11 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

The emperor is naked, people!

Author: arrbee55 from United States
13 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After reading through the comments, it looks like at least a couple of people saw the same movie I did. Hustle & Flow - this movie is a hustle and more of us should follow our instincts to flow out of the theater in the first minutes of the film - No, It doesn't get any better the longer you stay. . . misogyny, stereotypes, sexism, patron-ism, Hustle & Flow has it all. Yevette finally "sees the light", abandons her middle-class existence and joins the crew at the house full of ho's. Nola don't mind DJay messin with her head cause sometimes it needs messin with. DJay, the sympathetic reformed pimp throws one of his girls, and an infant, out on the street - wow, my kind of hero. I'm not sure what audience this "black movie" is intended to reach, but I am definitely on a crusade to minimize the number of people who waste too much time and too much money watching this, yet another in a long line of movies that denigrate Blacks and women.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable like Showgirls or an Arch Hall Jr. Film

Author: paulrichard_rocks from United States
27 July 2012

I am amazed at all the 10 stars/high ratings given to this film. I actually enjoy watching this film in the same vein as I like watching Showgirls. This film is so bad it actually becomes an inverse of itself in an enjoyable way. I would rate this film up with Showgirls to be one of the worst films ever. By the same token, it is an enjoyable film to watch and laugh out loud.

By the way, when Terrance Howard was rapping, it appeared his voice was running through a processor of some kind, vintage whenever-the-film-was-made. If he couldn't have afforded microphones, did he send the blond back to the store for another "transaction"?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

This film is all flow

Author: dj56 from United Kingdom
28 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When, people originally are told about this film, understandably the idea of rappers and gun crime can seem a little cliché, and almost annoying watching another film about idiots shooting each merely for the sake of it.

However, this film could not be further from that, this is deeply psychological movie, which in its own way can make you sad and Happy at the same time. Terrance Howard (D Jay) plays a what can only be described as a philosophical pimp, whose desire to better himself is truly up lifting.

Though whats makes this film so spectacular is not really the music, but how the music is made. In this film we watch the process of not only the lyrics but the beats and original sound, that separates this movie from its grotty genre and elevates it to that same level as pulp fiction and reservoir Dogs.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: nama chakravorty from India
13 May 2009

Craig Brewer's 'Hustle & Flow' is one of the finest independent films to come out in Hollywood. A films that shows reality in its truest form. A story about a pimp aspiring to become a rapper. The idea is fantastic if first of all, and the execution is just a cherry on the cake. Agreed the film ends up sad, but it leaves you satisfied and energetic. 'Hustle & Flow' rocks.

Performances: Terrence Howard is fantastic, the soul of the film. He's astonishing in every frame he appears in, and is easily one of the best performances of this decade. Anthony Anderson is as usual, excellent. Taraji P.Henson delivers an earnest performance. Taryn Manning is a revelation. She's superb. Others are decent.

on the whole 'Hustle & Flow' is a brave and reverting film. I love this film, and I recommend each and every cinema this film. Two Thumbs Up!

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A powerful film, that will impact your life

Author: grack-2 from Denmark
21 September 2006

This is not a movie as much as it is a film. It depicts the seaming underbelly of the drug-infested music scene in the poor areas of Memphis. The cinematic properties and writing are like something out of a rap video crossed with a John Woo movie. It allows the viewer to delve into the life of an up and coming rapper slash drug dealer going through a mid-life crisis. Everything is so miserable that you can't help but develop a sense of compassion for the struggling performer that is the protagonist. You find yourself wishing for a happy ending. There is actually a sense of purpose within watching the film; something rather rare in this genre. All in all this is definitely a film worth watching.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It's Hard Not To Love The Singing Pimp

Author: Ryan Ellis from Toronto, Canada
16 August 2006

Hustle & Flow is the Baadasssss of 2005. It's a well-acted, low-budget flick about black culture and it seems to have been made with equal parts heart & talent. Both films are emotional, entertaining, and completely riveting. The more popular comparison is to Rocky, which is perfectly valid too...if the Italian Stallion had been a Memphis pimp instead of an illiterate club fighter in Philly. I won't continue comparing director Craig Brewer's 2nd picture to ones that came before, except to add that it's not only similar to Rocky and Baadasssss, it's almost as satisfying as both of those. And for a movie with some dark themes, it's a lot of fun to watch.

If you're a fan of music, you're bound to love the lengthy scene in which DJay (Terrence Howard, in a fabulous Oscar-nominated performance) is trying to lay down a track for his breakthrough hip-hop (and Oscar-winning) song, "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp." It's fascinating to watch the whole process. Maybe the speed and success with which the song gets put together isn't realistic, but that doesn't stop the scene from being fascinating. DJay had been a fairly horrible guy up until this point in the movie. Here's his turning point. When his natural talent for hip-hop shines through with ample support from his friends and hoes (yes, they have a role to play in this music venture), DJay becomes a new man. Howard is a good actor and it's hard not to be on the side of a good actor, even though DJay does and says some terrible things to his ladies.

His faith in Nola (scrappy Taryn Manning) and his apparently genuine love for Shug (a spectacular Taraji P. Henson, stealing scenes in the Adrian Balboa role) redeem his earlier thuggery. Those 2 actresses are terrific and so are Anthony Anderson and DJ Squalls, who play Howard's music gurus. Brewer, who also wrote the script, guides them all with a steady hand. He even manages to create some real tension in the climax because the end result isn't telegraphed from the start. Can the guy who sells women for a living sell himself to super-rapper Skinny Black (Ludacris)? The final scenes that follow are bittersweet, although more sweet than bitter. What's ENTIRELY sweet about Hustle & Flow is the music, the acting, and coolness factor. Definitely 2005's Baadasssss.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Interesting example of modern disrespect for women

Author: robospork from United States
14 June 2006

This movie is useless as a "realistic depiction" of life as an up n coming rapper. Sure some people may actually live like this, but I think it is more a portrait of what white America thinks black America is like, not how it actually is. Also, I was shocked with the way the women characters were repeatedly emotionally pulverized and abused mentally. This is quite an interesting insight into a real, right now, modern perspective of gender inequality. Forget all the racial stuff they tried to push into our faces here and think about how the women were treated. It was completely awful and it is not reality... it is a glimpse into the warped male minds that made this movie.

Who cares about all the cuss words... the truly troubling stuff in this movie come out in unintended innuendo, none of it is intentional.

God what an awful 8-mile wannabe, and 8-mile sucked.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Oh my, oh my. ...

Author: Orange Banana from United States
30 July 2006

People, let me tell you something, and please read this through so you don't get the wrong impression here: I'm not a big fan of movies containing similar plots that involve mostly "black" culture, Ebonics, pimps and the kind of materialism they promote. And that's partly because I've seen a number of them. So, first time a friend of mine told me he had "Hustle & Flow" on a DVD, I said "Nah, thanks." But then after about 4 months, for some reason I went to check the reviews for this title and decided to take a chance. I rented it and then ripped it to my hard drive, for those evenings when you have nothing better to watch. Then one day, I helped this guy with his motorcycle and he wanted to pay me for that. I refused to accept money from him but instead he tucked about 1g of pot I'm my pocket. I's been a while since I've taken any and I though, hey, let me refresh my memory.

So there I am, stoned like an Indian cow, in front of my 24" widescreen LCD, starting this DVD with the following mindset: "If it's not entertaining in the first 10 minutes I'm zeroing this movie for good".

And the the very first scene, where he reveals his riped mind to this ho' who couldn't compose one simple, meaningful sentence as a reply to his 5-6 minutes dissertation, blew my fckng mind to pieces. I couldn't stop watching, my eyeballs where drying up, I didn't want to blink. The whole movie flows with such characters, each is worth studying. But most of them develop throughout certain time period, while DJay was already developed, fully bloomed. So here we are, watching this knightly character who knew what he wanted so much more than the others that he simply hanglides through them throughout the whole movie.

You must see this movie stoned cause I cannot guarantee what would I say if I wasn't. So take no chances, get some weed from your neighbors teen and rent this mottafuka at once. And make sure you watch it with someone who has the similar mindset like you or just be alone.

Let me know what you think.

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