A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Stands out for positive messages.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Crooklyn is Spike Lee's semi-autobiographical dramedy about a Black family living in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It’s a candid depiction of life for a family that has real-life issues like financial strain, being a one-income household, stressed parents, and smart, rambunctious kids who have some sibling rivalry and constantly bicker with one another. The childhood of a brilliant, young black girl is interrupted with the unexpected passing of a parent. A child is bullied, and there are a few fights, but no major violence, blood, or gore. Language includes the "N" word, "t-ts," ass," "s--t," and "black bastard." Two young men in the neighborhood get high by sniffing glue. There are positive messages of courage, resilience, and growth (a young girl comes into her own at a time of great loss), and there's a strong sense of community depicted.
- Parents say
- Kids say
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the story?
CROOKLYN is Spike Lee's semi-autobiographical dramedy about a Black family living in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the 1970s. It centers on teacher Carolyn (Alfre Woodard)l; her financially irresponsible musician husband, Woody (Delroy Lindo); and their five kids. While not the best provider for Carolyn and the family, Woody loves his wife and kids -- including 9-year-old Troy (Zelda Harris), who's forced to learn lessons from her four brothers, her mother, and the choices of her father.
Is it any good?
This film provides a candid, transparent, and culturally-rich perspective of black girlhood in a way that's not glamorized, stereotypical, or caricatured. With a screenplay written by a trio of black writers who happen to be family, and a semi-autobiographical story written by Joie Lee, the storyline offers a genuine glimpse into the everyday life of an African American family living in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Crooklyn provides an endearing and raw glimpse of many of the cultural norms and societal undercurrents present in the lives of a family during a very critical time in America’s history. The Carmichaels are a vibrant, intelligent, and at times uncouth household that showcase the unspoken burdens of the black female matriarch in ways that are real, relatable, and culturally-sensitive without erasing the authenticity of those experiences.
The layered dynamics of the family are clearly delineated. Carolyn as an overworked, underpaid teacher and mom clearly depicts the resilience and oftentimes burden that black women carry within the family unit. Troy brings a vivaciousness and wisdom beyond her years to the narrative. Her stepping into the legacy of the forthcoming matriarch of the family is evident in the inner strength and stoic nature that she exudes after the loss of a parent. Though a child, she doesn't shrink from the responsibility and courage that it takes to be the woman of the house. As she steps into her mother’s legacy with great strength and poise even in her youth, there’s great symbolism that echoes and reflects the experiences of so many young girls and women in African American communities.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dynamics of a family in Crooklyn. What's the definition of a family, and how do the dynamics of a family change depending on different cultures? Does a person’s culture affect their role in a family?
Does the history and culture of a family affect the roles of the different genders within a family? How does the history of treatment toward women apply to this movie? In a marriage, is it the man's responsibility to provide for the family?
What character strengths do the female characters in the movie display? How does the movie promote courage, perseverance, and communication?
How does the film portray the communication within this family? What role does communication play in your family?
In what ways does conflict make the characters in the family stronger? In what ways does Carolyn show strength? In what ways does Troy show strength?
- In theaters: May 13, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: February 23, 1999
- Cast: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, Zelda Harris
- Director: Spike Lee
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG-13 for drug content
- Last updated: June 25, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love African American stories
Find more movies that help kids build character.
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch