Box art for Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow


With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful rapper.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5

This movie is for adults only.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie, focused on the efforts of a pimp trying to change his life, features explicit references to sex and prostitution (as well as scenes in a strip club). Characters use harsh language, smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex, and fight with one another, on occasion drawing blood. Women wear scanty clothing.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the obstacles DJay tries to overcome, including poverty and lack of education. How are his ideas shaped by media images (music videos, news)? How does music help him gain another perspective on his life? How is this pimp and drug dealer simultaneously appalling and sympathetic? How does he treat the women around him?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 26
    see all Hustle & Flow reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: 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.

- Amber Wilkinson, Eye for Film, Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fresh: 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.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, July 22, 2005

Fresh: 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.

- Brian Webster, Apollo Guide, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

He made this before he made Black Snake Moan, but now that I've seen both of films, I am convinced of two things: 1) Craig Brewer knows the South, and 2) to quote a skit from Chapelle's Show, He "knows black people". While this film does present a familair story, it is not executed in a totally cliched and formulaic way. It is gritty and raw (in places), but not so much so that it becomes exploitative. It's not a sugar-coated fantasy either. It's a really good mix of things, and its real strength is that it is very plausible and realistic. DJay is a Memphis pimp and drug dealer, but these are not his passions, jiust the things he does to get by. His real passion and dream is to become a rapper- something he discovered a talent for early on, but lost along the way. Brushes with his past, along with troubles with his women resurrect his dream and give him the fuel to make his dream a possible reality. Terrence Howard had plenty of roles before this (and is bound to keep on working for a long time to come), but this is his star making performance. His portrayal of the pimp and pusher transcends gritty caricature. He's rough when necessary, and has a heart of gold when needed, but it's more than cookie cutter bullshit. Djay is a complex character, and he's fascinating to watch, especially because Howard so brilliantly brigns him to life. This may mostly be a vehicle for Howard, but the supporting cast is likewise brilliant, and all of them bring something to the table instead of just riding on the coattails of the lead. I especially liked the roles filled by Henson and Manning. Parker is good, but those two are excellent. All of the haraters are real and fleshed out, and believable. There is a lot of depth and humanity on display. That sentence can sum up the whole movie, because, despite the subject matter and the world on display, this is a work of art, and not exploitative garbage. D.J. Qualls and Anthony Anderson are known for comedic roles, and while they do provide some humor here, they aren't jsut comic relief. They also provide plenty of drama and emotion to push things forward. There is a fair amount of subtext and depth with this film, but it's not heavy handed or preachy. There's bits of fantasy here and there, but it's mostly just a moving and absorbing slice of life tale about struggle, ambition, and hope. You don't really have to be familiar with rap music to like this film. It may help to like or appreciate(or at the very least tolerate) it though. You know this movie is mildly high brow when one of the songs ("It's Hard out Here for a Pimp") actually won a fucking Oscar. It shows that yes, ghetto life and rap music can be art and the subject of high culture entertainment. Some scholars may have an issue with the fact that a white man was behind this, and that somehow this movie may be trivializing a culture that's not his own, but that's not true. Man, I just realized that that last paragraph reminded me of my seminar paper on blaxploitation films I'm struggling to work on. Okay, enough rambling. Go see this. It's great stuff, and very worthy of viewing.

- cosmo313, Tuesday, October 5, 2010

4 stars

Not a bad movie at all

- dukeakasmudge, Thursday, October 29, 2009

2 stars

I had a feeling I wouldn't care to much for this movie and I was right.. Another movie only worth seeing once..

- LWOODS04, Sunday, July 26, 2009