The Novice Cinephile

Exploring the world of cinema one film at a time.

Boyz n the Hood is a coming of age story and follows Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as he grows up in South Central Los Angeles. We meet his friends Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut) and Darren ‘Doughboy’ Baker (Ice Cube) and learn the harsh truths of living in the hood.

This film hurts. It pulls no punches and is all too real. Writer and director John Singleton crafts a beautiful story showcasing what many black communities suffer from daily. Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy are three young men who have just as much potential as anyone else, but their lives of poverty, drugs, and gangs set them up for failure. Do we overcome these struggles, or do we succumb to them? Some people never get the chance, and it’s deplorable.

The film is full of standout performances from Gooding, Ice Cube, Lawrence Fishburne, and others. It’s rare to have something so unbelievably entertaining, and yet it leaves you feeling crushed. This movie manages to pull it off, and it’s a work of art.

The way Singleton uses time also gives the film added weight. We start off in 1984 and setup Tre’s home life and his mother struggling to take care of him. We see younger versions of our main cast and how their adolescent years influence their futures. We then jump to 1991 and see the lives they lead and how it makes a huge impact. Seeing these young men grow up is what makes this a fantastic coming of age story. Even if it does end in tragedy.

Boyz n the Hood is a film that tells the raw unforgiving truth of life in “the hood’. Showing how gang violence is an endless cycle and can ruin lives before it even starts. It’s a film full of fantastic performances and an incredible screenplay. This film isn’t for everyone, but I truly believe everyone would benefit from seeing it. Knowing the struggles that others go through will help us build a better society.

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