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Red Hook Summer, A Review

Red Hook Summer, a Review

I along with some friends of mine had the pleasure of viewing an advanced screening of the new Spike Lee Joint, “Red Hook Summer.” I guess I’ve been living under a proverbial rock, because I had NO idea he was coming out with a new film. I blame Twitter for not telling me. Before I get into the review, allow me to give you a bit of background. First, the film takes place in…you guessed it, Brooklyn! Somewhere someone from Brooklyn is letting other people know that they are from Brooklyn! If you said any other location, please deduct 5 points. Red Hook Summer tells the story of Flik Royale, a young ATLien (ATL resident) who is visiting his SUPER religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch, for the summer, in the Red Hook housing projects.

Flik, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Bishop, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

The film opens with Flik being dropped off at his grandfather’s place, by his mother. Oh, I didn’t tell you. This was the first time that they were meeting each other. Of course there were conflicts between the 2 of them. Conflicts ranging from Flik trying to become acclimated to the inner-city life, to Flik’s diet, to the Bishop desperately trying to coerce encourage Flik to come to “White Jesus.”

Chazz, Flik, Bishop (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

His summer moved along with the help of Chazz Morningstar, a girl his age. I know what you’re thinking, they hooked up, huh? Um, no.

Flik and Chazz, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Since this was a screening, there were no opening previews and such. It took me all of 2 minutes before I realized “oh, this is the movie.” The film is littered with traditional Spike Lee-ness. I love when Spike uses multiple cameras to make the subject move away from the background! #EditingPorn Further, I love when he shows the same scene multiple times from different angles. AND I LOVE when he brings back characters from his previous films. 

Spike Lee, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Spike has perfected using the environment to help tell his story as well as set the tone. Besides the actual actors, the heat, White Jesus, religion and the music were characters in this film.

Without spoiling the movie, I will say that it touched on several themes to include: religion and its culture, taboos in the Black church, love, and abandonment. The film took a few twists that made me sit up in my seat and look through my fingers. I laughed…at times when I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to laugh. I gasped…a lot. I also encouraged the grandfather to slap the taste out of his grandchild’s mouth.

Flik and Bishop, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Most of the acting was convincing. Some was AWESOME! While some was not. I especially loved Deacon Yancy and the roundness of his character!

Bishop and Deacon, (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

After the film was over, I must say that I was left with a few questions. I must have blinked because it took until the end of the film for me to realize why Flik was even visiting his grandfather. Some parts of the film struck a nerve. Honestly, I can see how some may be left feeling some kind of way…which is GREAT! I think this film will encourage dialog…even if it’s to say how much some people HATE Spike Lee. Smh.

Chazz, Bishop and Flik (Photo David Lee, Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Overall the film was fair. I give it a high C. The look and feel of this film has indie written all over it…which is a good thing. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts? Do you plan on seeing the film? #SayYes

Here is the trailer: httpv://

Official Websites:


SCREENPLAY BY: Spike Lee and James McBride

RELEASE DATE: August 10, 2012 (NYC), August 24, 2012 (Expansion)

STARRING: Clarke Peters, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, Nate Parker, James Ransome, Thomas Jefferson Byrd

RUNNING TIME/FORMAT: 121 minutes-DCP Digital-1.85 Flat-English-Color-2012


That’s it. Thanks for listening. :D

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  • CharliGirl868

    HUH? Spike Lee got a new movie? This review is my 1st ever hearing of anything new by him in a good minute. I’m shocked cause usually stuff like this usually Tom Joyner puts the word on the street for those who don’t know. Can’t figure how this was so far up under the radar that it was totally silent—well, nearly.

    Thanks for the review. Just reading the review [and hearing your voice in my head narrate this] put me in the thought of She’s Got To Have It. It seems like this is an indie film with limited release. I seriously doubt it’ll be at any theaters here in MS where I live. Definitely not since Isaac is causing all kinds of mayhem to come on the coast and in N.O.L.A.

    I would really love to see this film because it seems like it’ll be a good film. Spike’s movies always leave you feeling some kinda way…that’s just how Spike is. Real fact, Phyllis Hyman loved his movies. She was actually glad he asked her to appear in a scene of School Daze, doing what she did best. I’m weak now cause I got a visual of her 6′ 2″ self standing over Spike’s 5′ something self. #LOL in my head.

    • suggie

      That’s what I said. I had no idea. It’s an interesting film…I’m still talking about it. I hope the film does well. I love me some Spike Lee.

  • Christie E.

    It felt like all of his movies combined in one. I literally ld identify scenes from at least 5 of his other movies. Took a while for it to pick up in my opinion, like the first hour & a half I was wondering where it was going & when it was going to get to the big shocker part Spike talked about in interviews. (I’d heard about the movie and his rant at Sundance.) There were a couple of profound scenes but it took forever to get to them.
    My favorite part of the movie were the scenes with Nate Parker & Senator Clay Davis. I’d give it a C also, not his best but I encourage people to see it for themselves.

    • suggie

      Good point. It was a bit slow…but I’m cool with that. The climax scene was awesome and tragic. I can see how people are going to crush this one. I applaud Lee for continuing to do what he loves. Now, let me go find that interview.

  • Isunji

    I just heard about this film a couple weeks ago and I have been trying to keep an ear out for when/where I can see it. This is a great review that makes me want to see the movie even more. Thanks for the 411 Sug – and for not giving it away! :o)

    • suggie

      You’re welcome. I’ve read some reviews that gave it all away…without warning. \0/

  • DidiReadEng

    Looks like a typical Spike Lee. Hope it comes to France so I can see it. The French really like hime so I’m sure it will. Keep you posted on that.

    • suggie

      Same here. I’d love to know your thoughts.

  • BrowneyedKK

    I saw this movie when it opened in Charlotte. It had openings all over the place at different times and it was fully funded by Spike hence the lack of promotion. I just happened to hear him talking about it on the Steve Harvey show and I made sure to be on the look out for it. Had to see it a) because its SPIKE and b) because its BROOKLYN. The acting was … for most of the characters. I agree with your C rating. It made me homesick and it absolutely is a conversation starter. Classic Spike!

    • suggie

      It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Thanks for reading. ^_^

  • Kameelah Weeks

    I will definitely be checking this out…Bamboozled is one of my favorite films!!

    • suggie

      I loved bamboozled too!!

  • Minia

    Thanks for posting Sug… Was watching your blowdry vid and saw where you mentioned it… I had NOT heard of this one… I know I’m in the minority, but I really don’t care for Spike Lee (although his movies – for me – are hit or miss)… I feel like I should, but I don’t… However, your honest review has me curious… I’m in Seattle, but if it comes here again (of course I straight missed it), I’ll see it and let you know what I think!

    • suggie

      I don’t think I’ve seen 1 commercial for this film…not even a radio ad. I agree with his movies being a hit or miss. I really wanted to love this film. When it hits Redbox, I’ll rent it again. Thanx for your comment.