Spike Lee’s new “joint”, CROOKLYN, is a seemingly affectionate look back at the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn in the 1970’s. It focuses on the lives of 10-year-old Troy, her hard-working mother, her jazz musician father, her four brothers, and all the folks that inhabit her block. Though not driven strongly by any plot, it is rich with character and style. Troy’s family lives in the lower apartment of an old brownstone in relative comfort, and though this family spends much of its time yelling at one another, they are in the final analysis a loving unit.
CROOKLYN, on the whole, may be a bit idealistic. With a truly terrific soundtrack and wonderful clips from old television shows and commercials, this is a rather optimistic look at a time when things may have seemed simpler than they really were. There are even references to Christianity being at the core of daily life, and, although the Christian characters are sometimes laughingly portrayed, there is a sense that faith is with us when we most need it. Some of the camera-work is wonderful, some of it typically pretentious, but this is one of Lee’s more gentle films, and we commend him for giving us characters who, at their core, are good and loving people. Regrettably, CROOKLYN is laced with offensive language and somewhat vulgar humor.
(R, B, C, Ab, LLL, V, M) Romantic worldview with some positive moral statements and several references to Christianity as a given part of life, although some of these references are treated with amusement; 36 obscenities, 3 profanities & numerous name-calling; a couple of people slapped or punched, cat swung by tail & dog killed in sleeper sofa (neither graphic); shoplifting depicted with no consequence & blatant lying to parents; and, boy throwing up on his food & little girl urinating on the floor in her sleep.