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Red Hook Summer Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Still doing the right thing. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Lee's latest rambles through almost two hours of unfocused drama, burdened with endless didactic editorializing, before lurching out of nowhere into ugly revelations and violence.

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  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Red Hook Summer has some fantastic gospel numbers, but as drama it's a casserole that never comes together.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Here is Lee at his most spontaneous and sincere, but he could have used another screenplay draft, and perhaps a few more transitional scenes.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    It's a scramble, marked by the unruly variety of visual strategies Lee prefers.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Complex Spike Lee drama starts hopeful, turns very dark.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that director Spike Lee's Brooklyn-set drama Red Hook Summer focuses on a 13-year-old boy, a neighborhood girl the same age, and his grandfather -- a bishop in a local church. As the movie reaches its final stretch, there's a subplot about child molesting; even though nothing is actually shown, it's very intense. Language also increases as the film goes along, moving from a few uses of "s--t" and the "N" word to harsher words like "c--ksucker" and "motherf----r." Other violence includes arguments and shouting and a scene of an adult pushing a boy up against a door frame. Sexual innuendo is mild and infrequent (mostly some talk about pregnant girls), but product placement is strong, with frequent use and mention of an Apple iPad in particular, plus some other products. Overall, Red Hook Summer is a film with complex messages that's clearly intended for more mature viewers.

  • Families can talk about Red Hook Summer's violence and suggested sexual violence. How shocking is it? How does it affect your perception of the story or the characters?
  • Is the bishop a role model? Does his past deed overshadow the rest of the good he has tried to do?
  • What does Flik learn over the course of the summer?
  • Does this movie encourage faith and religion, or is it more ambiguous?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: This is an exceedingly complex movie, as muddled as real life, but one of its strongest themes is that faith -- whether in God, or in other people, or in oneself -- can provide forgiveness and understanding. But another theme is that faith may only be possible through suffering.

  • message true2

    Messages: Red Hook Summer is an exceedingly complex movie, as muddled as real life, but one of its strongest themes is that faith -- whether in God, in other people, or in yourself -- can provide forgiveness and understanding.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The main character, Flik, doesn't have a clear journey over the course of the film, but he makes a couple of small gestures toward the end that suggest that he's learned something about being a good person. Bishop Enoch Rouse is presented as a good person, but viewers learn that he has a dark and horrifying past that's difficult to forgive, even though he's worked very hard to heal himself and atone for his sins.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: The movie's most disturbing scene is a flashback of suggested sexual violence committed by a grown man upon a 12 year-old boy (a minor character); nothing is actually shown. In another scene, three street thugs beat up the bishop, with bleeding head wounds. Also many scenes of tense arguing and/or yelling. In one scene, an adult argues with a pre-teen boy and pushes him up against a door frame. A dead rat is shown.

  • sex false1

    Sex: The term "sucking off" is used. Also some innuendo, such as mentions of girls getting pregnant.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is fairly sparse until the final stretch, when "s--t" is used more than once, as well as "c--ksucker" and "motherf----r." One secondary character says the "N" word and "goddamn" several times. "Bastard" is heard once. "Butt" and "hell" are used many times.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The main character carries an iPad everywhere, shoots videos on it, and mentions its name more than once. Facebook and Twitter are mentioned several times. Characters wear Nike shoes and clothes, and the logo is seen at least once. Tylenol is mentioned once.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A secondary character is shown to be a drunk, mixing wine with cola (he calls it "Jesus juice"), and drinking whisky. "Reefer" is mentioned.