Rolling Stone - 06/02/1994
"...This remarkable movie will haunt you for a good long time..."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/1994
"...CROOKLYN is Lee's most personal work...and decidedly his best to date..."
New York Times - 05/13/1994
"...The first [Spike Lee film] to display real warmth of heart....[Harris is] a winning young actress....A cheerful celebration of 70's black culture..."
Entertainment Weekly - 05/20/1994
"...A warm, nostalgic, spilling-over-the-edges effusiveness that is new to Lee's work..."
Los Angeles Times - 05/13/1994
"...Refreshing....Woodard is luminous as always....Also a pleasure is young Zelda Harris..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/13/1994
"...Lee's choice of actors is a complete success. The children seem like siblings, and interact in a natural, habituated way..."
With CROOKLYN, Spike Lee revisits through the eyes of a young girl the Brooklyn of his youth, resulting in an innocent, touching comedy about one summer in the life of a large family. The only sister in a family full of boys, Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris) has to be strong, smart and quick with her fists if necessary. Although they argue more than they talk, the Carmichaels draw from a deep well of love for one another. Over the course of the summer, Troy weathers her parents' separation and reconciliation (characters played with deep sincerity by Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo), takes a wild visit to her cousin's in Virginia, and must learn to cope with personal tragedy when it strikes. Lee co-scripted the film with siblings Joie and Cinque--who claim that it isn't strictly autobiographical--yet CROOKLYN rings true with a nostalgia and detail that makes it feel like a home movie. Flexing his technical skills, Lee shot all of the Virginia scenes with a distorted lens to reflect Troy's confusion with her new surroundings. Featuring an onslaught of 1970s pop culture references and a seemingly endless pop music soundtrack, CROOKLYN yet remains a universal viewing experience.
A slice African-American urban life in early 1970s, CROOKLYN focuses on the good- humored Carmichael family whose center of gravity is their mother (Alfre Woodard), a hard-working schoolteacher. Around her are one dependable daughter (Zelda Harris) four obnoxious younger sons and a stubborn jazz musician husband (Delroy Lindo) who refuses to let go of his dreams. Seeped in 1970s nostalgia, this film highlights the events, large and small, that dot one girl's journey from childhood to womanhood.
Family Interaction |
Music (General) |
CROOKLYN was released theatrically in May 1994.
The film was shot on location in Brooklyn, New York.
The script for CROOKLYN was jointly written by Joie Susannah Lee, Spike Lee and their brother Cinqué Lee. According to interviews with the Lee family trio, Cinqué and Joie Susannah wrote the initial screenplay. Spike told reporters that his contribution was minimal--apparently he only rewrote the screenplay to give the script some structure. This is the first script Spike Lee has coauthored with siblings.
CROOKLYN is a semi-autobiographical work. The Lees claim, however, that it isn't really based on their family. "This is a fictitious family, very, very, loosely based on my recollections growing up," Spike told reporters. According to the Lees, CROOKLYN is really a composite of childhood experiences, not all of which are taken from their family.
Zelda Harris, the 9-year old who plays Troy in CROOKLYN, was pulled from an open audition of more than 1,000 children. Before the film, Zelda appeared in an episode of I'LL FLY AWAY and on public television's SESAME STREET.
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, a key figure in the resurgence of jazz composition for film, has composed two scores for Spike Lee besides CROOKLYN: JUNGLE FEVER and MALCOLM X.