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Hustle & Flow (2005)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 155
Fresh: 127 | Rotten: 28

Critics Consensus: Hustle & Flow is gritty and redemptive, with a profound sense of place and exciting music.

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: Hustle & Flow is gritty and redemptive, with a profound sense of place and exciting music.


Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 119,430


Movie Info

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 … More

R (for sex and drug content, pervasive language and some violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
Craig Brewer
In Theaters:
Jan 10, 2006
Box Office:
MTV Films - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Hustle & Flow

All Critics (163) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (127) | Rotten (28) | DVD (35)

It's kind of a conventional story, but it's told in such a unique way and the locations in Memphis all feel very authentic.

Full Review… | July 25, 2005
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Hustle & Flow suspends you in its spell of mood, of feeling, of climate. It's a pop picture that finds its richness in peeling down to the essentials of good storytelling.

Full Review… | July 22, 2005
Top Critic

Watching as a pimp, a pothead and a pregnant hooker play and sing in a makeshift bedroom recording studio, and becoming increasingly caught up in their determination and hope, it's impossible not to think that this is a part of the American Dream, too.

Full Review… | July 22, 2005
Washington Post
Top Critic

Every now and then, Brewer pulls off a near-miracle with his flinty characters: He lets us, for a moment, slip into their lives -- and sing their song.

Full Review… | July 22, 2005
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Unlikely as this may sound, Hustle & Flow -- about a low-down Memphis pimp who wants to be a rapper -- is the feel-good movie of the summer.

Full Review… | July 22, 2005
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Of all the exuberantly built-up beats, Taraji P. Henson's beautifully shocked and elated response to unexpectedly forming the nucleus of "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" gives "Hustle" its soul and won that song an Oscar.

Full Review… | September 24, 2010

For an alleged indie hit, the film is nothing if not shrewd about audience-hooking and sensory-manipulation

Full Review… | September 5, 2009

Edgy camerawork fails to distract from the fact that Hustle & Flow -- a hit a Sundance -- is about as edgy as the crust on Mom's apple pie.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Eye for Film inspiring and ennobling character study in which love and respect trump pure success.

Full Review… | July 11, 2007
Movie Metropolis

Craig Brewer has a distinctive voice. He writes dialogue that authentically conveys the truth of real life while also touching on universal themes of hope and healing.

Full Review… | July 5, 2007
Apollo Guide

...fiercely original, thoroughly engaging...

Full Review… | March 8, 2007
Reel Film Reviews

Audiences will be seduced into setting aside their moral qualms and rooting for this hip-hop hustler.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Film Journal International

A ghetto fabulous flick certain to generate some healthy debate as to whether it is glorifying or condemning the thug life which is so celebrated by the Hip-Hop Generation.

January 24, 2007
Black Talent News

Peopled with gritty, unsafe and unsavoury characters from the street scape of downtown Memphis, Hustle and Flow probes keenly into the crunk subculture alien to Australians, yet fascinating and engaging.

Full Review… | March 4, 2006
Urban Cinefile

Merece créditos por seus dois primeiros atos e pelas performances excelentes que oferece.

February 19, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Having a dream isn't easy ...

Full Review… | January 14, 2006
Juicy Cerebellum

Brewer's failures in the last thirty minutes overwhelm everything he got right in the first ninety.

Full Review… | January 7, 2006

An involving and fun tale of redemption with many fine musical moments as well an enjoyable subplot involving the rotund Key and his understandably skeptical wife.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

While never sacrificing any of the hard-knock authenticity and specificity of his characters and their milieu, he has crafted a deeply felt film that can speak to and empower just about any audience.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

A great turn by Terrence Howard [and] real sympathy spun like gold from Taraji P. Henson.

Full Review… | November 21, 2005
Window to the Movies

Howard is simply terrific as DJay - he really makes you root for his character, despite his pimping, drug-dealing ways.

Full Review… | October 29, 2005

Follows the traditional Hollywood rags-to-riches tale but throws in unexpected grit and top-class drama.

Full Review… | September 27, 2005

A perfect example of the manipulative power of a tale well told.

Full Review… | September 26, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

Great acting and writing propel this fairly straightforward drama.

Full Review… | September 23, 2005
IGN Movies

It may not be very believable, but it sure is unforgettable.

Full Review… | August 30, 2005
Laramie Movie Scope

Audience Reviews for Hustle & Flow

A pimp tries to make it as a rap star with the help of his hookers and an old friend from the neighborhood.
Terrence Howard turns in a fantastic performance, utterly convincing as Djay, a pimp with musical aspirations. His character seems real, fleshed out, and interesting, and Howard's work carries the film.
The story is fairly basic, but I think the biggest problem is its misogyny. The filmmakers have to be aware of the ridiculous irony inherent in having a prostitute sing "Whoop that trick!" or "It's hard out here from a pimp." It's too ironic to be unintentional, yet I can't figure out what the intention is. After all, the film identifies with Djay's journey to such a degree that I have a hard time thinking of this film as satire, and trying to prove that prostitutes become agents in their own denigration isn't a productive insight.
Overall, this film is worth seeing if only for Terrence Howard.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I don't know whether or not this film would have worked if it had not have been for the brilliant performance from Terrence Howard. He really is the one to watch here, even D.J. Qualls couldn't spoil it. It may seem ever so slightly contrived, a white director and all, but it's not really. The opening dialogue is proof alone that this film has something to say, I don't know Memphis, I've never been but I felt like this was the real Memphis in many ways and it's a great story. Taraji P. Henson is so sweet, you just want to give her a hug.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

DJay: I'm here trying to squeeze a dollar out of a dime, and I ain't even got a cent man.

"Everybody gotta have a dream."

Hustle & Flow is one of those movies that I didn't want to see end. The film had a lot going for it, from a natural knowledge of the small time hustlers and dealers to the surprisingly good music; and of course there's Terrence Howard in the role that really gave him a name. 

DJay is a smalltime pimp and drug dealer living in Memphis with three of his women and a small child. He's struggling with life as he enters a mid-life crisis because of a memory of his father dying at the age he is now. To try to improve his life, he begins rapping. He meets an old school friend who is now a gospel music producer, and brings him and another producer on to help make DJay's demo tape.

This movie isn't overly original in anything it is doing, but the voice is good. The dialogue hits like a hard bass beat the whole film long. Especially when the words are coming out of Howard's mouth. Howard does a phenomenal job with his dialogue and the accent of the character. He basically is this movie and with it resting on his shoulders, it succeeds.

The content isn't for everyone as there's a lot of demeaning language toward women and what not, but it can't be slandered for its content. The content is dead on and this fictional story of a hustler turned actor has a basis in real life as many rappers used to be exactly what DJay is. As far as a urban, music, crime drama goes; Hustle & Flow is an entertaining and well-made one to get into. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


I hesitated for 8 years before finally seeing Craig Brewer's debut and I have to say I was very impressed. The biggest surprise to me was the amazing dialogue (written by Brewer as well), it's like if Tarantino made a film about southern hip hop, this would be it. Great performances by the entire cast.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Hustle & Flow Quotes

Djay: Whoop dat trick!
– Submitted by Oliverr & (21 months ago)

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