Parents' Guide to


By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Provocative Spike Lee movie for older teens.

Movie R 2000 135 minutes
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Spike Lee's movie is ambitious, provocative, complex, thoughtful, and just about review-proof. Anyone who doesn't like it could be accused of not getting it. Anyone who does like it could be accused of liking it for the wrong reasons and not getting it, either. This movie has some of the most striking images ever put on film. The minstrel show stars peer into mirrors to put on exaggerated red lips. A tear slips down a blackened cheek. Montages of minstrel images from old movies and racist toys and collectibles are devastating.

Lee's movie raises dozens of important questions about the roles that both blacks and whites play in perpetuating racist stereotypes. Lee suggests that the current UPN and WB sitcoms featuring black characters may be the modern-day equivalent of a minstrel show. The movie is uneven. Dialogue has never been Lee's strong point. But each scene has depth, integrity, intelligence -- and anger -- that is a welcome antidote to the usual formulaic Hollywood product. It is a profound and stimulating film that is designed to create debate and discussion, and certain to raise many different thoughts and emotions amongst viewers.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 6, 2000
  • On DVD or streaming: April 17, 2001
  • Cast: Damon Wayans , Jada Pinkett Smith , Paul Mooney
  • Director: Spike Lee
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors, Female actors
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 135 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong language and some violence
  • Last updated: December 8, 2022

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