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Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow

4.5 4
Director: Craig Brewer

Cast: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning


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One man's struggle to rise above his circumstances prompts him to try a career in music in this acclaimed drama from writer and director Craig Brewer. Djay (Terrence Howard) is a low-level pimp and drug dealer who scraped together a living in the ghettos of Memphis, TN. Djay isn't happy with his life, and the realization that he's reached the same age when his father


One man's struggle to rise above his circumstances prompts him to try a career in music in this acclaimed drama from writer and director Craig Brewer. Djay (Terrence Howard) is a low-level pimp and drug dealer who scraped together a living in the ghettos of Memphis, TN. Djay isn't happy with his life, and the realization that he's reached the same age when his father unexpectedly died has made him start thinking about changing his ways. Djay has always had a gift for spinning stories, and after picking up a cheap keyboard, he begins picking out beats to go along with his rhymes. After bumping into an old high-school buddy who works in gospel music, Key (Anthony Anderson), Djay decided to take the plunge and remake himself as a rapper. With the technical know-how of Key and the musical input of a local beat maker named Shelby (DJ Qualls), Djay begins turning his way with words and his first-hand knowledge of the street life into music, as his two live-in girlfriends, Lexus (Paula Jai Parker) and Shug (Taraji P. Henson), add their musical input and emotional support and Nola (Taryn Manning) continues to turn tricks to pay the bills. When local boy-turned-nationwide hip-hop star Skinny Black (Ludacris) comes to town to pay a visit to Arnel (Isaac Hayes), a club owner friendly with Djay, he sees an opportunity to put his demo in the hands of someone who can bring his music to the masses, though it turns out to be far more difficult than he expected. Hustle & Flow had its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it received a number of rave reviews and took home the Audience Award.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
No actor had a busier, better 2005 than Terrence Howard, who wowed audiences with standout roles in Crash, Get Rich or Die Trying, and HBO's Lackawanna Blues. His most magnetic and memorable role of the year, though, came in this highly entertaining drama. Howard plays DJay, a very small-time Memphis pimp/drug dealer who can barely make the rent -- his ride doesn't even have air conditioning. And while his way with words and philosopher's bent serve him well in all his less-than-legal activities, he wonders whether he's wasting his skills. A chance encounter with an old friend (Anthony Anderson) who is now a recording engineer reignites his long-forgotten dreams of being a rapper. Recruiting a gangly white kid with a drum machine (DJ Qualls), they transform his ramshackle house into a recording studio while DJay puts pen to paper and unleashes his flow. And when it's learned that hip-hop star Skinny Black (real-life rapper Ludacris) is coming back to his Memphis 'hood for a visit, DJay sees this as his one shot to make something of himself. Writer-director Craig Brewer, a Memphis native, imbues Hustle & Flow with the city's rich musical heritage, and the scenes where the three construct their crunk tracks (which are quite good) bristle with creative energy. The uglier (some would say only) side of pimping is all but glossed over, however. DJay's women (Taryn Manning and Taraji P. Henson in breakout performances) don't like the job but they like him, and he's never shown laying a hand on them. If it seems like Brewer is dealing in mixed messages, he is. Still, Hustle & Flow is a dream-it-and-do-it self-actualization fantasy, not unlike the "let's put on a show!" pictures Mickey Rooney made in the 1930s. Andy Hardy may have never sold pot or sang a song like "Whoop That Trick," but DJay is trying to better himself, and his creative spark transforms all those around him. None of this would have worked at all without Howard, who absolutely burns up the screen and has you rooting for him all the way. A feel-good pimp movie? Damn right.
All Movie Guide
Even more than its thematic cousin, Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, Hustle & Flow harnesses the grungy essence of grass-roots hip-hop -- the kind produced in basements and garages -- and filters it through one of 2005's most intense performances. From his throwback 1970s title card onward, writer/director Craig Brewer has produced a blisteringly hip breakthrough, one that's as capable with iconic images as it is with penetrating a deeply complex antihero. Playing that central figure is Terrence Howard as Djay, a revelation of simmering menace, whose desire to escape his daily pimp-and-ho grind is a physical force. As coldly efficient as his methods are, this is clearly a man with a conscience, a stern yet secretly caring father figure to the stable of prostitutes who live in his Memphis bungalow. The poetics of his street philosophies -- unobtrusive soliloquies in Brewer's dialogue -- naturally dovetail into the necessary rhythms and life experiences for rap. As he gathers a motley group of collaborators, the music takes shape with a booming and vibrating gristle that is absolutely invigorating. Inspired by the overnight fame of another local street figure, Djay channels his gifts of persuasion into everything from acquiring sound equipment to quieting the neighbors during recording. The supporting performances add whatever Brewer and Howard cannot. DJ Qualls excels as a talented white mixing geek whose street posturing actually ends up seeming cool. Anthony Anderson clearly relishes a well-deserved respite from contemporary blaxploitation comedies, yet still joins with Qualls to contribute the film's significant doses of humor. Even rapper Ludacris is good as Skinny Black. But sharing the soul of this film with Howard are women: Taryn Manning's Nola, whose braided-blond tough girl just wants a little validation, and Taraji Henson's Shug, who finds her own fragile relevance through the music. The rare MTV Films release that actually uses songs as enthralling and indispensable ingredients, Hustle & Flow is an unqualified shot of cinematic adrenaline, that studio's best film since Election.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

Every good actor has a season when he comes into his own, and this is Terrence Howard's time.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by writer/director Craig Brewer; "Behind The Hustle"; "By Any Means Necessary"; "Creatin' Crunk"; Memphis hometown premiere; 6 promotional spots

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Terrence Howard Djay
Anthony Anderson Key
Taryn Manning Nola
Taraji P. Henson Shug
Paula Jai Parker Lexus
D.J. Qualls Shelby
Ludacris Skinny Black
Elise Neal Yevette
Isaac Hayes Arnel

Technical Credits
Craig Brewer Director,Screenwriter
Stephanie Allain Producer
Paul Beauregard Songwriter
Andrew Black Sound/Sound Designer
Andy Black Sound/Sound Designer
Scott Bomar Score Composer
Keith Brian Burns Production Designer
Cedric Coleman Songwriter
Billy Fox Editor
Kimberly Hardin Casting
Van A. Hayden Asst. Director
Preston Holmes Associate Producer
Jordan Houston Songwriter
Paul A. Simmons Costumes/Costume Designer
John Singleton Producer
Paul Stewart Musical Direction/Supervision
Amelia Vincent Cinematographer
Dwight Williams Co-producer,Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hustle & Flow
1. Man Vs. Dog
2. Street Business
3. Chill Time
4. Old School Run In
5. Restless
6. Late Night Freestyle
7. Primary Investor
8. Gettin' Crunk
9. Cleaning House
10. Studio Omen
11. A Hook Is Born
12. Tricks Of The Trade
13. From The Heart
14. A Good Luck Send-Off
15. In The Mode
16. Street Dreams
17. Bathroom Meltdown
18. Locked Up Inside
19. Radio Redemption


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Hustle & Flow 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not bad at all. This movie is an entertaining one for sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When my husband and I sat down to watch this movie, he was determined to "take a nap" after the opening credits. By the end he was just as into the story and characters as I was. Terrence Howard's performance was incredible and the story well crafted. Definately a title I recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hustle and Flow is a very inspiring movie. You really have to watch the behind the scenes and listen to the producers and directors tell you about the background and what the essence of the movie is. I think we can all agree Terrence Howard looked good even as a southern country pimp!!! This movie is more about a pimp becoming a rapper. It's about overcoming fears and challenging new boundaries. It's about believing there's a way even if you can't see it. It's about knowing EVERYONE deserves a chance at success, but there's only the RIGHT way to go about it. We found this out when Djay was trying to use Skinny Black to get his foot in the door, it was wrong and he paid for it. What I loved the most about this movie is Djay's character, I think we can all agree that he is not your average pimp! He's very emotional and the best part is he has a conscience! Djay is also quite comical as he constantly gets frustrated to be respected as a pimp by his hoes. What struck me about this movie was the fact that it is so real. The situations feel real when you're watching it. I could feel everyone's pain and glory throughout the film, and that's what a movie is supposed to capture and provide to the viewers, a sense of reality. Could you really see this happening, of course you could. I felt so uplifted as the characters started working together to create music. Everyone played their part to the "T" and I simply love this movie! If you haven't seen it, you need to!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago