Red Hook Summer (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Red Hook Summer2012

Red Hook Summer (2012)



Critic Consensus: Red Hook Summer is just as bold and energetic as Spike Lee's best work, but its story is undermined by a jarring plot twist in the final act.

Red Hook Summer Photos

Movie Info

Red Hook Summer tells the story of Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), in the housing projects of Red Hook. Having never met before, things quickly get off on the wrong foot as Bishop Enoch relentlessly attempts to convert Flik into a follower of Jesus Christ. Between his grandfather's constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, Flik's summer appears to be a total disaster - until he meets Chazz Morningstar (Toni Lysaith), a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn. Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he'd ever imagined. -- (C) Variance

Watch it now


Clarke Peters
as Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse
Jules Brown
as Flik Royale
Toni Lysaith
as Chazz Morningstar
Heather Alicia Simms
as Sister Sharon Morningstar
Colman Domingo
as Blessing Rowe
De'Adre Aziza
as Colleen Royale
Steve Henderson
as Deacon Yancy
Jonathan Batiste
as Da Organist TK Hazelton
Tracy Camilla Johns
as Mother Darling
Spike Lee
as Mr. Mookie
Turron Kofi Alleyne
as Butter Turron
Fred Tolliver, Jr.
as Born Knowledge
Lillie Marshall
as Miss Marshall
Arthur French
as Mr. Curtis
Sincere Peters
as Blessing Rowe (at 12)
Isiah Whitlock Jr.
as Detective Flood
Al Palagonia
as Detective Haggerty
Eve Lora
as Box's Lady
Louanne Harris
as Donna/Kayak Instructor
Jackson Lee
as Kayak Kid
Tyheim Smith
as Kayak Kid
Nesean Smith
as Lil' Buddha
View All

News & Interviews for Red Hook Summer

Critic Reviews for Red Hook Summer

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (27)

For the most part it's all rather pleasant, if somewhat aimless.

September 13, 2012 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Lee's typically paradoxical statements on race and religion muddle the narrative, and his old stylistic tricks -- saturated color schemes, characters addressing the camera -- aren't exactly inspired.

August 31, 2012 | Full Review…

The story is static for about 90 minutes, then rises to action, but in a way that seems impromptu, either made up on the spot or ill-considered.

August 31, 2012 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

When Spike Lee fails he fails big, and he goes down in flames with "Red Hook Summer."

August 31, 2012 | Rating: D+ | Full Review…

Lee's latest film feels like several intriguing ideas in search of an over-arching story.

August 24, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

This coming-of-age portrait provides one more instance of Lee as one of this country's finest cinematic regionalists.

August 24, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Red Hook Summer

As much as I enjoyed Clarke Peters's performance, this was a movie that felt like a pale imitation of Lee's groundbreaking early work. It could easily have been half an hour shorter, and it would have been more powerful for it--too much needless exposition in the early going. The child acting was barely competent and the pacing was off; the plot twist didn't feel earned. Still showed decent flashes of the old Lee's thematic territory--disillusionment with the American dream, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis--and had some stellar stylistic flourishes near the end, but these pluses just weren't enough to save the film.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

In "Red Hook Summer," Colleen(De'Adre Aziza) drops her thirteen year old son Flik(Jules Brown) off in Brooklyn to spend the summer with her father, Enoch(Clarke Peters), a Baptist preacher and boiler repairman. None of which is to Flik's liking, starting with the accommodations. And then there is the lack of air conditioning, the non-vegan food and most importantly the lack of television. All of which he records faithfully with his Ipad 2. At least, there are the sunday school snacks which he consumes with his new friend Chazz(Toni Lysaith). Even with a shocking third act plot twist that is more Old Testament than New Testament, "Red Hook Summer" is more often than not an evocative look at a boy's expanding his boundaries, both physically and mentally. And a very good performance from Clarke Peters certainly helps matters. But like with other of his recent movies, Spike Lee has a lot easier time with what he wants to say, than in how he says it which is usually just as important, even with the occasional directorial flourish.(It should come as no surprise how little difference there is between a rant and a sermon.) An example of this is on the subject of gentrification as the neighborhood of Red Hook does not come alive on screen like it should have.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Another entry in Spike Lee's Chronicles of Brooklyn series, this is the tale of Flik Royale, a sullen boy from middle-class Atlanta who is sent to spend the summer in the Red Hook housing projects of Brooklyn with his fervently religious grandfather whom he has never met before. It's another coming-of-age fish out of water type story, and, while it's nothing all that new, it has some nice ideas and potential behind it. The main problems are the execution (I wasn't all that enamored by the hand-held digital camera work), and a late plot development that comes basically out of nowhere and pretty much derails tings. Also, the acting (especially by the young actors) is pretty bad. I get that Lee was going for a more naturalistic style with their performances, but unlike Gus Van Sant, he can't pull it off. The performance by Clarke Peters as the grandfather is actually pretty good though, and easily the strongest part of the movie. I did like the humor, and, as I said, some of the ideas, but ultimately this one falls pretty flat. I did enjoy the world they tried to build here though, and it was also pretty cool seeing Spike briefly bring back his Do The Right Thing character Mookie. All in all, a largely 'meh' kind of movie. It's got Lee's trademark flair all over it, just not the energy or memorability.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Red Hook Summer Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features