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Hustle & Flow, the film

Hustle_and_flow Most of the critics liked Hustle and Flow. It won some awards at Sundance for the "audience award" and the cinematagraphy award.

"Rapper DJay (Howard) works the angles to get his first record made, with help from assorted people in his Memphis 'hood. And when he hears that rap superstar Skinny Black (Ludacris) is heading to his area, he throws together a supreme hustle to grab Skinny's attention."

DJay's attempt to get Skinny's attention goes wrong, and DJay assaults Skinny which winds him up in jail just as a couple of his rap songs get radio play and he starts to get some recognition.

The problem that I have with this movie is that it seems to portray DJay, a pimp and a drug dealer, as having one big chance to hit it big and make something of his life, and that chance is to become a rapper.

This seems like a very narrow set of options to me and probably sends the wrong message to urban youth that life is confined to the streets or becoming a rapper hoodlum.

There is something about DJay, though, that you like. He wants to, and tries to improve his life, to become something better than the drug dealing pimp that he is. He tells his "primary investor", his highest earning prostitute, that "we are in charge" not the trick. In fact, his first big rap song has a refrain, "Whoop that trick".

So while DJay and his girls live the street life, they want to believe that they are in charge and can have something better. The point of the movie is never to take away or give up on a person's dream. DJay is hopeful and perhaps it is this hopefulness, against all odds, that give a bleak movie some socially redeeming value.

I recommend this movie with reservations.

Link: Hustle & Flow (2005).


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