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A Crooklyn

A Crooklyn

Crooklyn:

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An article that has not yet been published on the The Inquirer website, opening a clear path to explore the Central Park West and ongoing construction of the Crooklyn bike trail.

Movie

Although the Lees say the movie should not be read as straight autobiography, some of the scenes have the directness and pain of real memory. There's a night, for example, when the mother, exhausted and worried, tells the kids to clean up the kitchen before they go to bed. They do not, and in the middle of the night, in a rage, she awakens them and marches them downstairs. She has obviously reached some kind of a breaking point. The children are frightened and confused, and the movie doesn't process their feelings into some kind of neat package; when things like that happen, they hurt, and are remembered. Later in the film, we discover some of the things that might have been on Carolyn's mind. "Crooklyn" is not a neat package with a tidy payoff at the end. It contains the messiness of life. As it ends, the children are still children, and whatever life holds for them is still ahead. Most movies about children insist on arriving at a conclusion, when childhood is a beginning. Someday Spike Lee may make a movie about how he went to NYU and became a filmmaker, or Joie Susannah Lee (who wants to direct) will tell the story of her teenage years. Then these beginnings will be enriched as we know more of the story.

Eventually, by the third act, the movie’s heft reveals itself. When tragedy strikes—nothing melodramatic, just the sort of tragedy that too many families know all too well—you might be surprised to find yourself undone. Suddenly you realize how intricately you’ve been woven into this family’s life—into their challenges and joys, their shared lingo and loving rhythms. Case in point: there are two instances in the movie where Troy’s mother whispers something in her ear. We may not be able to hear, but we’ve become such a part of the family at this point that we don’t need to know the words. Somehow, we still understand what she means. (Source: www.larsenonfilm.com)

Lee

"Crooklyn" was written by Lee with his sister, Joie Susannah Lee, and his brother, Cinque Lee. They say it isn't literal autobiography, but was "inspired" by their memories. Some of those memories have the specificity of real life, however, including a showdown between Carolyn and a son who will not clean up his plate of black-eyed peas. And there are family quarrels, as when Carolyn temporarily throws Woody out of the house for bouncing checks and not contributing to the family income. One particularly poignant scene has the oldest son, Clinton (Carlton Williams), deciding whether to attend his father's all-important solo piano recital, or use his ticket to the Knicks' all-important playoff game. He goes to the game, but when he comes home the Knicks victory somehow doesn't seem as important as it should. "Crooklyn" is not a neat package with a tidy payoff at the end. It contains the messiness of life. As it ends, the children are still children, and whatever life holds for them is still ahead. Most movies about children insist on arriving at a conclusion, when childhood is a beginning. Someday Spike Lee may make a movie about how he went to NYU and became a filmmaker, or Joie Susannah Lee (who wants to direct) will tell the story of her teenage years. Then these beginnings will be enriched as we know more of the story.

Although the Lees say the movie should not be read as straight autobiography, some of the scenes have the directness and pain of real memory. There's a night, for example, when the mother, exhausted and worried, tells the kids to clean up the kitchen before they go to bed. They do not, and in the middle of the night, in a rage, she awakens them and marches them downstairs. She has obviously reached some kind of a breaking point. The children are frightened and confused, and the movie doesn't process their feelings into some kind of neat package; when things like that happen, they hurt, and are remembered. Later in the film, we discover some of the things that might have been on Carolyn's mind. (Source: www.rogerebert.com)

Life

The five siblings here, along with their parents (Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo), engage in dinnertime showdowns about finishing black-eyed peas; squabbles over whether to watch the Partridge Family or the New York Knicks; and pranks with the other kids on the block (including abuse of an eccentric neighbor that’s downright homophobic). These aren’t angels, but they’re real—thanks in large part to the uniformly excellent, perfectly in sync child performances from Carlton Williams, Sharif Rashed, Chris Knowings, Tse-Mach Washington, and Zelda Harris. Like the teenagers in Cooley, these kids experience urban life not as a prison sentence, but a playground.

Make yourself at home with the Carmichael family as they experience one very special summer in their Brooklyn neighborhood that they've affectionately nicknamed "Crooklyn". Renowned director Spike Lee fashions a bold, flavorful picture of family life that People Magazine calls his "most affectionate work." Academy Award® nominee Alfre Woodard stars as Carolyn, a loving, but fiercely independent mother who along with her musician husband (Delroy Lindo) struggles to raise her family in difficult but often wonderful circumstances. Complemented by an energizing, vintage R&B soundtrack, this tender, colorful film is a fitting tribute to an American family. (Source: moviesanywhere.com)

 

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