Hustle & Flow Movie Poster Image

Hustle & Flow



This movie is for adults only.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Protagonist is a pimp, and aspires to be a hip-hop star.


Brutal fight at the end.


References befitting a story of a pimp and prostitutes, scene in a strip club.


Very strong language.


Liquor names.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Main character sells marijuana; characters drink, smoke, do drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie, focused on the efforts of a pimp trying to change his life, features explicit references to sex and prostitution (as well as scenes in a strip club). Characters use harsh language, smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex, and fight with one another, on occasion drawing blood. Women wear scanty clothing.

What's the story?

DJay (Terrence Howard) is a Memphis pimp who is imaging a world beyond his own. When DJay gets hold of an old Casio keyboard, he's inspired to make music, specifically, to express himself through hip-hop. And so he tries to make a demo tape, with the help of sound engineer Key (Anthony Anderson) and church pianist/vending machine stocker Shelby (DJ Qualls), who brings his beat machine. They spend hours and hours putting together a couple of tracks, "Whoop That Trick" and "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." DJay delivers his tape to a rap artist, Skinny Black (Ludacris), when he comes by a local bar (the owner played by Isaac Hayes) one evening. Resilient in his ignorance, posing like a proud, tough guy, he can't escape the fact that he has a sense of history and context.

Is it any good?


Perceptive and provocative, HUSTLE & FLOW focuses on the limits and excesses of a DJay. Even as he's imagining a world beyond his own, however, DJay's vision is limited by immediate needs. Women, he admits to his new girl, Nola (Taryn Manning), are like men, not dogs, with aspirations and needs. Craig Brewer's first film doesn't hold back from showing DJay's gritty side: he's selfish, short-sighted, and angry, selling dirt-weed and living in a one-floor shack with his girls; in addition to Nola, the household includes lapdancer Lexus (Paula Jai Parker), her young son, and the very pregnant Shug (Taraji P. Henson).

The women are caught up in stereotypical roles, arguing with or supporting their man, who in turn sells their bodies to any creep with $20. But the actors bring depth, detail, and poetry to these character outlines. When Shug describes a recent nightmare (in which she gives birth to a dog, then finds herself "breastfeeding a big old catfish"), she thinks it through and concludes it's because of her fear of the unknown, a fear afflicting everyone in the house.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the obstacles DJay tries to overcome, including poverty and lack of education. How are his ideas shaped by media images (music videos, news)? How does music help him gain another perspective on his life? How is this pimp and drug dealer simultaneously appalling and sympathetic? How does he treat the women around him?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 22, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:January 10, 2006
Cast:Taraji P. Henson, Taryn Manning, Terrence Howard
Director:Craig Brewer
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sex and drug content, pervasive language, and some violence.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bySonia Montejano April 9, 2008

"Keep hustlin..." and find another movie

The movie tries hard to be philosophical and humane, and in some ways, it succeeds. Great acting by Howard actually draws sympathy and makes you cheer for the pimp by the end (who woulda thunk?)but the movie is still so gritty and raw (along with the script) you might wish you hadn't seen it. And after watching 2 hours of sweaty, sticky hoes and pimps, the only thing you leave with is a catchy song and the feeling that you need to take a shower. and by the way, this movie is definitely NOT for kids...
Adult Written byantidonnie April 9, 2008
Adult Written byflurbnurblia April 9, 2008