Iffy for 16+
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
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.
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.
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: 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: The term "sucking off" is used. Also some innuendo, such as mentions of girls getting pregnant.
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: 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.
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.
Fan Reviews provided by
I was Blinded sided by Red Hook. by merkmurphy
the acting was very natural and human like. every character seemed as close to the real thing as they possibly could. tho i felt as if i was actually in church for lengthy parts of the film, it was the perfect set up for the eruption that lied ahead.. a must see.
Red Hook Summer by Smokey Big Bear
This latest film by Spike Lee is for individuals who appreciate a fine art film, with intellectual depth surrounding the complexities of life, to the deeper questions of our desire and commitment to personal empowerment and social transformation. In other words, if you can't make sense out of what's going on in the story, and how everything comes together, you ain't been thinking. The stage is centered in "A Little Piece of Heaven," an old church standing amidst the adversities of urban life, including the blessings of a transitioning neighborhood. Instead the church becomes a crutch for some (bishop and deacon) to cover personal failings. We see hope and despair in the lives of a teenage boy and girl as well as the jadedness of a young gang leader. There is so much more I could write, but I really believe "Red Hook Summer" is one Lee's best works to-date.
Art leads life: Wake up, America
Parabolically using his own "community" to assault the Babylonian pedophile priesthood's "cult of male prostitutes," the entity Our Founder, Thomas Jefferson, correctly identified as "the real Anti-Christ," "an engine for enslaving mankind," whose Fifth Column Rockefeller-Bush faction just committed 9/11 after assassinating Dr. King and JFK to send us as papal catspaw to their latifundial estate of Vietnam, Spike Lee, in "Red Hook Summer," shows a courage and integrity Scorcese never bothered to exhibit until "The Departed," and then only using the Irish instead of his own "community."
Viewers are given a dividend by watching this revealing and revolutionary work, with a performance by Colman Domingo, a clear front-runner for the next Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Red Hook Summer by janncoles
The actor who portrayed the peacher was very very good; however, I got so tired of hearing his long preachy sermons. The whole movie had too much preaching in it.
The story didn't make sense to me.
The young actors were not very good. Too bad. They were earnest and somehow charismatic, but need some acting lessons. Sounded like they were reading lines.
Not Spike's best.
Red Hook Summer by vincehny
I have to agree with another reviewer that has already posted. This movie is not Spike's best. This movie is apparently supposed to be viewed through the young boy's eyes. However, the young kids acting performances in this movie is not that great. While the kids tried their best to portray emotions it was clearly a lackluster performance on both of their part. The grandfather's performance was quite good but something didn't make sense. At the beginning of the movie, it is clear that the daughter doesn't want to be around the father. Later you find out why and once you learn the reason, you have to ask, why on earth would you leave your son with him?
Red Hook Review
I have to say that Red Hook was a good movie that sent a message to the black community in regards to their dependency on Religion. It gave people the history of the Red Hook Housing projects. It also provided a dramatic twist in the film that introduced the real message for the film. I got the opportunity to see Spike Lee in person during the Q&A session after the movie.
Red Hook Summer by tREBLEFREE
Loved it! As a Spike Lee fan, I like the story he told here and his imagery and use of music. As always, Spike uses those4 elements to move his stories in a certain way. This film did NOT disappoint.
Great Job Spike! by iwatchmovies22
Great Movie! this story needs to be told! Great work from the direction to the cast!
This is an amazing movie by clinix1
Red Hook Summer is a spectacular story. This is a very emotional movie where you treasure friendship, importance of family, and how incredible young people are.
You love these characters, they are going through things, and you just want to give them a hug. It is a joyful movie, but serious things are in thier world. I just loved the movie!
Red Hook Summer by krazek83
Great movie. Spike Lee did a wonderful job.