Boyz n the Hood

1991

Boyz n the Hood (1991)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes urban America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.

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Director John Singleton's debut chronicles the trials and tribulations of three young African-American males growing up in South Central Los Angeles. When young Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a bright underachiever, begins to show signs of trouble, his struggling professional mother (Angela Basset) sends him to live with his father (Lawrence Fishburne), a hard-nosed, no-nonsense disciplinarian. There he befriends Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a burgeoning football star, and Doughboy (Ice Cube, in a standout performance), a would-be gang banger. Over the years, each chooses his own path: Tre seems bound for college; Ricky is a blue-chip running back with his pick of schools; Doughboy is a dope dealer and bona fide gangster who drifts in and out of the county juvenile facility. All is well until, without warning, a rival gang chases down Tre and Ricky with tragic results. Doughboy immediately prepares for revenge, forcing Tre to decide whether to jeopardize his future and, perhaps, his life for the price of revenge and self-respect. Sometimes riveting, Boyz'N the Hood is not without its problems. The film tries to cram every single issue facing the black community into an hour and a half of screen time, making the film seem at times forced. The symbolism seems forced as well, and the film is often unbearably heavy-handed. Also, the characterization often relies on cardboard cut-outs; every white character in the film is a one-dimensional bigot, and the black police officer with whom Tre and his father deal is even worse than his Caucasian counterparts. Still, the unevenness of the film is redeemed by some moments of true brilliance. ~ Jeremy Beday, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Boyz n the Hood

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (14)

It's always risky to proclaim a new force in film based upon just one film, but Boyz N the Hood is good enough to suggest that John Singleton is going to be a major player for a long time.

Aug 1, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Like a jazz ensemble, Singleton and his actors slowly involve us in an almost sensual melange of moods, images and situations that take us inside the ghetto in a way mainstream films almost never do.

Aug 1, 2016 | Full Review…

Singleton sometimes displays his youthful inexperience in melodramatic emphasis and rhetorical flourishes, but he has created a deeply troubling film about responsibility.

Aug 1, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Even in its warmest moments, there is a fearful chill in this hood's air. And on the hearts of its boyz.

Aug 25, 2008 | Full Review…

The violence in Boyz N the Hood is neither gratuitous nor melodramatic; its aftermath is shattering. Singleton's powerhouse movie has the impact of a stun gun.

Aug 18, 2008 | Full Review…
Newsweek
Top Critic

An absorbing, smartly made dramatic encyclopedia of problems and ethics in the black community, 1991.

Mar 17, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Boyz n the Hood

½

An unpretentious portrait of a neighborhood dominated by violence, police abuse and even misogyny, and, while it does have some funny moments, it is a serious, realistic look at a slice of American society at constant odds with limited opportunities and public indifference.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Powerful in performance and message. John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood tackles this dangerous subject with sleek direction and emotional drive. The script is intangible to any other in its genre or subject and with the aid of Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, Fishburne and casts makes for a masterful picture. 4.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

A heartbreaking, exceptionally acted look at violence in America. Thoughtful, current, and necessary.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Once upon a time in South Central L.A. ... It ain't no fairy tale. Good strong Film! John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood remains one of the best fictionalized and most poignant summaries of some of America's toughest internal problems - racism, violence, poverty, and drug abuse. This is not a hip-hop film, nor a detached and dehumanized story about "gang violence", its a story about growing up fatherless or motherless in a war zone with a faceless enemy, where people do not value each other's lives at all and value their own lives only slightly more. This is a great film about real issues, sensitively portrayed and thoughtfully examined. Every American who cares about the vast untapped potential of our people ought to take a long, hard look at this one. These are not 'black problems', they are everybody's problems, and their solutions will require everybody's understanding. I could think of far worse places to begin developing that understanding than Boyz n the Hood. John Singleton's portrayal of social problems in inner-city Los Angeles takes the form of a tale of three friends growing up together 'in the 'hood.' Half-brothers Doughboy and Ricky Baker are foils for each other's personality, presenting very different approaches to the tough lives they face. Ricky is the 'All-American' athlete, looking to win a football scholarship to USC and seeks salvation through sports, while 'Dough' succumbs to the violence, alcohol, and crime surrounding him in his environment, but maintains a strong sense of pride and code of honor. Between these two is their friend Tre, who is lucky to have a father, 'Furious' Styles, to teach him to have the strength of character to do what is right and to always take responsibility for his actions.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

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