Crooklyn was loosely based upon Spike Lee’s upbringing in Brooklyn, New York. The style is similar to Do The Right Thing. Both have main storylines, in this case the topic is the Carmichael family in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. At the same time they are full of side stories about the people in the community. Lee’s point was to show both a coming of age story for Troy Carmichael (Zelda Harris), the only daughter in the family, as well as what it was like to live in an African American neighborhood in the 1970s.
For Troy she has to put up with her four brothers who whine, complain and get into trouble all the time. Tory’s mother Carolyn (Alfre Woodward) ends up getting sick which devastates her daughter while her dad Woody (Delroy Lindo) is a frustrated and out of work Jazz artist. She also hangs out on the block and goes to her auntie’s house in Virginia for the summer which is a culture shock for someone used to living in the city. These are all typical stories about growing up. It also shows a complete and loving African American family. Too many times the only kinds of black families you see in Hollywood are led by single moms.
In the neighborhood you have a cast of characters from two drug addicts that terrorize the kids to a weird neighbor to the Carmichaels, and more. There’s all the music as well which is prominent throughout the film like Soul Power by James Brown and Respect Yourself by The Staple Singers. Again this is meant to highlight the community with all its quirks and different experiences as well as the culture of 1970s America.
Crooklyn isn’t as strong as Lee’s best work like Malcolm X, Do The Right Thing or The Inside Man. Some are thrown off by all the side stories which can lead people to lose track of what the film is about. It’s still an enjoyable watch with plenty of funny and emotional scenes.