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Crooklyn Review

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Spike Lee's semi-autobiographical tale of a family growing up in '70s Brooklyn - mother (Woodard), a teacher; father (Lindo), a jazz musician, and their five kids.

★★★★★

After Malcolm X's budget blow-out, Spike Lee lowered his sights to this story of a Brooklyn family, based loosely on his own 70s experience growing up there with his own family, for an intensely personal look at the place and the era.

Alfre Woodard turns in a polished turn as Carolyn, the mother-on-the-verge, as does Delroy Lindo as the pop, Woody, a stalled jazz musician, but events - mainly stormy relations and the pressures of bill-paying and social services - are centred around Troy (Zelda Harris), their bright, independent daughter.

Although it's occasionally unsubtle, the film boasts strong central performances and conjures up a strong sense of community among the neighbourhood. The ubiquitous '70s music adds to the atmosphere, and overall Lee creates an impressive look back at the world in which he grew up.

Although skilfully played, this, Lee's most personal film, lacks an evenness of tone and direction, and unsurprisingly flopped big-time in the US to warrant only a token release in the UK.

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