Hustle & Flow


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2005 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji Henson, DJ Qualls, Ludacris

Non-Cast Credits

Craig Brewer, Dwight Williams, John Singleton, Stephanie Allain, Amelia Vincent, Billy Fox, Keith Brian Burns, Scott Bonar


With roots that run deep into the southern milieu from which it comes and characters that are rich, consummately drawn, and full of life, Craig Brewer's Hustle & Flow is a revelation and a delight. Energized by an enormously charismatic central character and a performance by Terrence Howard which is quite simply a breakout, Hustle & Flow creates engagement from its first frames and reaches its peak without a missed note or sidestep.

Djay is a pimp suffering a midlife crisis and although nominally successful, he yearns to record his flow and become a respected rapper. Galvanized by a gospel song, he sets his dream in motion -- recruiting his motley crew and building a studio in his home. And though he succeeds in putting his rap, "It's Hard for a Pimp," onto tape, the barriers to fame and fortune are many, and getting there becomes an elusive goal.

Brewer succeeds in imbuing this streetwise yet romantic film with a dimension and a profundity that one doesn't normally associate with its perhaps less-than-refined subjects. But the voices it evokes and the clarity of its vision are as accomplished and memorable as any you've seen. With elements you don't anticipate and characters that play against stereotypes, Hustle & Flow is a masterful reframing of the world that creates hip-hop and a succinct and humanizing portrait of the wellspring of contemporary music.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.