Brown Sugar

6.41 h 49 min2002X-RayPG-13
A woman wonders if it's just friendship or real love she feels when a close male friend announces he's tying the knot.
Rick Famuyiwa
Taye DiggsSanaa LathanQueen Latifah
ComedyDramaRomanceArts, Entertainment, and Culture
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Yasiin BeyNicole Ari ParkerBoris KodjoeWendell Pierce
Peter Heller
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual content
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4.8 out of 5 stars

3225 global ratings

  1. 91% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

joel wingReviewed in the United States on August 9, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Loving Hip Hop as a metaphor for Lathan and Diggs' love for each other
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Brown Sugar is an engaging story about how difficult love can be. Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs have known each other since they were kids but never followed through with their emotions for each other. They also love Hip Hop and it’s like a characters in the story. Lathan and Diggs are always talking about the essence of Hip Hop and whether they can still find it or not. Which of course is also about whether they can find each other. That also means there are lots of cameos by old school stars like Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, De La Soul and others, plus Mos Def and Queen Latifah are part of the cast as well. The chemistry between Lathan and Diggs drives the movie. That was easy because they were just in Love and Basketball a few years before. The story never gets sappy as well.
One person found this helpful
AdamReviewed in the United States on April 10, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Funny, romantic, heart warming, and a little thought provoking, too!
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Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan are fun to watch, while Mos Def brings another brilliant performance to the screen. This movie simultaneously gives commentary on hip hop as well as a friendship/relationship. A favorite of mine!
One person found this helpful
Tearched H. ScottReviewed in the United States on March 13, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Timeless Classic
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When you watch "Brown Sugar" you get a taste of soul food for your soul. You learn about the dynamic of two friends of the opposite sex who have a great friendship that has lasted many years. You can feel the closeness of the two main characters and the love that goes beyond the friendship. You also learn about the obstacles they run into before they are able to take their friendship past the current level. It's a must watch and a movie that you and your significant other can watch together while snugging together.
3 people found this helpful
NuisanceReviewed in the United States on June 7, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
"You are the perfect verse over a tight beat"
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I agree with the editorial review. Its kind of sad that I couldnt find this DVD in stores and had to revert to purchasing it online at You can find 100 copies of some overrated blockbuster in these stores but you cant find Brown Sugar. I find that kind of strange. At any rate...

The story is about Sydney(Sanaa Lathan) and Dre(Taye Diggs). Two best friends that have feelings for each other but never attempted to date each other. Sydney is a journalist and Dre is a record executive at Millinium Records. Dre ends up marrying a woman he just met(played by Nicole Ari Parker) and Sydney is not too happy about it. Sydney ends up dating a ball player(played by Boris Kodjoe) and they end up getting engaged. Dre has to deal with with a record label that only cares about making money and Sydney has to deal with her feelings for Dre.

Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs have wonderful chemistry together. They come across as real people on the screen and that is one thing I enjoy about Rick Fumuyiwa's movies. The people in them seem like real people and not these cardboard cutouts that we are used to in Hollywood movies. Also great in this movie is Queen Latifah and Mos Def who plays Chris, a struggling hip hop artist. Brown Sugar is not only charming and has a heart, its also smart and funny too. I'll admit that I laughed quite a bit especially at Rin and Tin scenes. I also love how the movie uses Sydney and Dre as a metaphorical euphemism for hip hop. Its a well written and well acted movie that deserves a lot more credit that it receives. Nowadays movies are being oversold to death and stealing all the hype from movies that deserve hype. Its sad but this is the Follywood machine at work and it has never been any other way. Sanaa Lathan is not only a sight for sore eyes but she can actually act. Taye Diggs brings his usual charm to the film and I must say that they make a beautiful couple on screen.

Conclusion: Brown Sugar is one of the best and is most underrated romantic comedies of 2002. The story is great, the acting is cool and the chemistry is there. What more can you ask for from a movie? The people that gave this movie less than 3 stars should stick to reviewing Quentin Tarantino and his awful overrated movies(all of them!)and leave movies like this one alone. Support the black directors that give you great work and Rick Fumuyiwa has given you great work with The Wood and Brown Sugar. Dont take directors like Bill Duke, Rick Fumuyiwa, Matty Rich etc for granted because you will helping in the downward spiral of quality in Black cinema. Give Brown Sugar a chance. It deserves that much which is more than I can say for most of the overhyped junk that comes out now.
17 people found this helpful
H. BalaReviewed in the United States on September 22, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars
"So, when did you fall in love with hip hop?"
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Enjoyment of this film doesn't hinge on how much you dig hip hop music or how deep or how far back your history with hip hop goes. 2002's BROWN SUGAR works just fine as a romantic film, and it's cool if you relish it solely for that. But if you love hip hop or even if you just have a nodding acquaintance with it, then you'll get so much more from the movie. Me, I grew up in the '80s, listening to what's referred to nowadays as old school hip hop. So I can definitely get with the opening sequence, which features real-life hip hop luminaries being interviewed and divulging their musical inspirations. I've been listening to these cats from the get-go (Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, De La Soul, etc.), and to set eyes on them in this flick, well, it's a very cool thing... I just wish Erik B. and Rakim had made an appearance (Rakim, to this day, is still my favorite emcee).

Well-respected magazine editor Sidney Shaw's first question in her interviews is always: "When did you fall in love with hip hop?" This not only reveals Sidney's deep, abiding ardor for this music genre but as well the underlying theme of the movie. How she herself fell in love with hip hop is established in a flashback set in 1984 in the boogie-down Bronx, as young Sidney and a little boy named Dre witness legendary rappers Dana Dane, Slick Rick, and Doug E. Fresh engaged in a rhyming battle. Sidney and Dre would grow up as lifelong friends, with their passion for hip hop inspiring them in their life choices and serving to keep them tightly connected.

Now Sidney and Dre are grown up, nearing thirty and successful in their careers. Sidney was an L.A. Times columnist, but now has moved back to New York as an influential magazine editor. She's never lost her integrity. Dre Ellis is a record label executive, and he's sold out a bit, bartering some of his ideals about hip hop for upward mobility and that good old green. Dre is about to be married to a beautiful girl. He's still best friends with Sidney. The plot gets going from there.

I really like this movie. It's romantic as hell, and told with intelligence and warmth and humor. And, sorry, but I can't help but compare it to the amazing [[ASIN:B00004Y2R1 Love and Basketball (New Line Platinum Series)]], partly because of the shared themes - with the friendship-into-romance arc being the most salient - and partly because both films star the luminous Sanaa Lathan. BROWN SUGAR and LOVE & BASKETBALL simply make good bookend movies.

Metaphors, now. In Sidney's voice-overs, she often presents a parallel between hip hop and her best friend Dre. This is done in a way which is interesting and insightful and heartfelt, and I really enjoyed this storytelling device. Particularly telling was Sidney's equating the "union of hip-hop to the mainstream" to Dre's wedding to his vanilla-type girlfriend Reese. And when Sidney professes her love for hip hop, the subtext is clear enough.

The cast clicks. Lathan's natural beauty, combination of strength and vulnerability, and marvelously grounded acting. Taye Diggs' magnetic presence and playful personality. Together, they create a very personal space, a cozy comfort level. Whenever Sanaa and Taye are in the same scene, everyone else seems to fade away. This is chemistry at its best.

Queen Latifah as Sidney's outgoing best friend and Mos Def as a laid back cabbie/emcee add solid support. Queen Latifah, as most folks know, used to be a strong emcee herself, before devoting her career to film acting. Mos Def, to me, can do no wrong. Dude is a sublime hip hop artist and so natural as an actor ([[ASIN:B00067BCBI Something the Lord Made]], [[ASIN:B0000B1OFL The Italian Job (Special Collector's Edition)]]). When Dre, in starting his own label, looks to sign Mos Def's character, he couldn't have found someone who embodied real hip hop more. Mos adds huge depth and credibility to this film; and he even performs on stage in it. Mos's scenes with Diggs and Queen Latifah are fabulous. Just keep an ear out for Mos and Taye's priceless conversation about Humphrey Bogart and Casablanca and walking off into the fog.

It's one disc, one side with the widescreen, the flipside with the full screen. Bonus features include: commentary by the director and the film editor (with the director's tendency to chuckle a lot getting to be this side of annoying); four deleted scenes with optional commentary (the scene "Poppin' in the Park," which shouldn't have been cut out, is terrific for Lathan and Diggs's cute pop-locking and their discourse on who the best emcees and djs are); two great music videos: Erykah Badu's "Love Of My Life" (featuring Common and MC Lyte) and Mos Def's "Brown Sugar" (featuring Faith Evans); and, of course, the theatrical trailer.

I also listen to other stuff, so as much as I love hip hop, I don't know that I'd call it the love of my life. I'd say that hip hop is more an off-and-on girlfriend. But, sometimes, I still get very much in the mood to listen to hip hop; I still try to keep track of who's who and what's what. I still bug out to Rakim's "I Know You Got Soul" and KRS-One's "My Philosophy." BROWN SUGAR is a wonderful love story, yep. But it's also a sincere valentine to a mean street musical artform which was triviliazed by most and, in its infancy, not given any sort of chance to grow and thrive. And how very wrong, the doubters and the haters. That there's even a movie like BROWN SUGAR around today is a testament to hip hop's popularity and longevity. And hip hop is not about to slow its roll.
5 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on April 25, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
First Love
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I'll ALWAYS LOVE THIS MOVIE and can watch it on repeat. Most of MsLathan's movies I can watch like that. She is AWESOME! The love of hip hop, OUR culture, OUR style, OUR PEOPLE! YES!
One person found this helpful
TianaMarieReviewed in the United States on May 11, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
When Did You Fall In Love With Hip Hop?
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When Did You Fall In Love With Hip Hop? If you can answer that question then you probably gave this movie 5 stars - or at least 4. This is one of my top 10 movies of all time so I was shocked when I read so many negative comments. It has to be what one reviewer said - no exposure to early hip hop.

But this is also a movie that has a gentle sweetness to it . . . witness Mos Def's character and his shyness to approaching Queen Latifa's character. For the most part, we've become so jaded as a society that when a character demonstrates innocence or vulnerability in a film, we downgrade it because we are either very uncomfortable witnessing it or tell ourselves its fake because we have never allowed ourselves to be vulnerable.

The saving grace is that truth does win out - - - there are far more 4 and 5 stars for this movie than 1 or 2 stars.
9 people found this helpful
De LimerzReviewed in the United States on May 24, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
What a great movie
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These actors draw you into the story and make you feel like your right there watching Sid and Dre in the restaurant.
One person found this helpful
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