REVIEW: Boyz n the Hood (1991)

boyz n the hood elenasquareeyesFollows the lives of Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Doughboy (Ice Cube) in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles as they try to grow up and survive in a world where drive my shootings are an everyday occurrence.

Boyz n the Hood was John Singleton’s directorial debut and he wrote the screenplay. To have put together a film that’s funny, shocking and heartfelt as your first film is such an achievement. There’s also a chilling sense of suspense throughout the film as you are constantly worried about the fate f these three young men.

Through Tre, Ricky and Doughboy you see what life is like in a world where gun violence but you also see that all three men are very different. Ricky and Doughboy are brothers, Ricky is the smarter one who has the chance to go to college through a football scholarship while Doughboy is the older brother who is more of the stereotypical guy who is lazy and violent and has no real aspirations. Tre is their childhood friend, Ricky’s best friend, and really he is more of a brother to the two of them. Tre’s relationship with his father Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne) is a highlight of the film as you see him moving to live with his father when he is a child and how his father’s guidance helps him grow up and not make rash decisions.

All the characters motives seem very realistic. Ricky has a responsibility to his young son, Doughboy wants to always seem tough and not fear anyone else and Tre wants to stick by his friends and do his father proud. Their interactions feel so natural that it feels like your looking into real people’s lives and the daily troubles they face.

In my mind Boyz n the Hood is similar to Do The Right Thing (1989) in the way it takes an honest look at life for young black Americans. While Do the Right Thing is set in Brooklyn and Boyz n the Hood is in LA so there’s universal themes of racism, violence, family and relationships in both films – both films are equally good but are also different.

Boyz n the Hood is often shocking but it’s also heartfelt and the performances are great. Boyz n the Hood really is a film that everyone should watch. 4/5.

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