7.4/10
35,784
208 user 147 critic

Hustle & Flow (2005)

R | | Crime, Drama, Music | 22 July 2005 (USA)
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With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.

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3,998 ( 1,709)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Djay
... Key
... Nola
... Shug
... Shelby (as D.J. Qualls)
... Skinny Black
... Lexus
... Yevette
... Arnel
... Tigga
William Engram ... Slobs (as William 'Poon' Engram)
Bobby Sandimanie ... Yellow Jacket (as Bobby 'I-20' Sandimanie)
Haystak ... Mickey
Claude Phillips ... Harold
... Elroy
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Storyline

Aspiring emcee DJay works the angles to get his first record made with help from assorted people in his Memphis 'hood. And when he hears that hip-hop superstar Skinny Black is heading to his area, he throws together a supreme hustle to grab Skinny's attention. Written by IMDb Editors

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The music will inspire them. The dream will unite them. This summer get crunk. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sex and drug content, pervasive language and some violence | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

22 July 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ritmo de un sueño  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,017,808, 24 July 2005, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$22,201,636, 20 November 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is dedicated to Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley and founded Sun Records. Phillips' do-it-yourself aesthetic inspired Craig Brewer to write the film. See more »

Goofs

When Djay changes the radio station in the car, the FM analog tuner is visibly set to the left side of the dial close to 94, but the announcer identifies the station as 107. See more »

Quotes

DJay: I'm here trying to squeeze a dollar out of a dime, and I ain't even got a cent man.
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Connections

Featured in The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Under The Mountain
Written by Jason Freeman
Performed by Jason Freeman
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User Reviews

 
Powerful stuff
13 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

Terrence Howard plays a Memphis pimp who decides to give hardcore rapping a shot in this arresting, gritty drama. Howard plays DJay, who pimps girls out of his beat-up Chevy Nova. When he comes into the possession of an electronic keyboard, DJay plays around with it and finds he has a talent for writing and performing hard, violent lyrics.

On its face, this seems like a typical "man rises from the ashes of his hardscrabble life to experience success and then watches it all crash down around him" kind of movie. It's not a movie about suffering, success, and redemption, in other words. But it's not as predictable as it may seem at first blush, and Howard is not your typical actor, by any shot.

DJay lives with his small stable of prostitutes in a tumble-down shack in the Memphis ghetto. As pimps go, he's not exactly Donald Trump. Some dance for an exotic club during the day and hook at night; some hook all day. But the money's not rolling in for DJay, who remains somewhat confident that he'll someday come out ahead. When he obtains the keyboard, inspiration strikes, and a chance encounter with an old classmate (Anthony Anderson) who's now a producer (of sorts) gives DJay the opportunity to jump out of the rotten life he's carved for himself.

This never feels like a typical rise-and-fall story, and that's thanks in no small part to the powerful performance by Howard, who's much better here than in the critically lauded (by some) Crash. Appearing with Howard in Crash was Ludicrous, who also has a big role in Hustle and Flow - hey, some rappers are very good actors, it turns out. Howard, aided by a crisp script from Craig Brewer, who also directed, never portrays DJay as simply a nice guy with some flaws, someone who's been handed a bad hand and is making the best of it. It's clear that DJay's made all of his own choices, and the situation he finds himself in - depending on hookers for his livelihood - is of his own doing.

But neither does the script show DJay as being entirely bad, either, as evidenced by some surprisingly tender, moving scenes between DJay and Key (Anderson) and DJay and Shug, his pregnant woman. These scenes don't come off as stilted or insincere, and that's thanks especially to Howard's strong performance. True, too, are the scenes in which DJay lays down a rap track in his home; you can feel the rage seeping through your television.

This movie might be a difficult sell to those who have trouble relating to the environment and atmosphere in which DJay operates. Undoubtedly those who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks will recognize aspects of their own lives, identifying strongly with one or more of the characters. But even those of us who have never lived in squalor, who've generally had advantages that others do not, can appreciate the intense, gray world in which DJay and his associates live. Had this been a simple, typical biography of a musician from the mean streets, it wouldn't have had near the effectiveness, the passion of Hustle and Flow. The movie intrigues you, makes you want to know what happens to DJay, even when it's obvious he's a bit of a jerk. But because he's not a stupid man, his actions cannot be painted as simply good or simply bad. Howard, in particular, is well deserving of his critical accolades here.


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