Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Sep 13, 2012
    60
    Although the film features a powerhouse performance by Clarke Peters as Da Good Bishop Enouch Rouse, it's saddled with a sloppy story.
  2. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Sep 6, 2012
    58
    This isn't the "Right Thing" in any sense.
  3. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Sep 6, 2012
    40
    There's little drama or sense of progression in the movie until the bombshell hits, and then it just whimpers along for another half-hour until the end.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 31, 2012
    40
    At some point, Lee as a storyteller must step in to move things along, to dig the rudder deep into the narrative waters and steer this ship. The destination is almost irrelevant - just steer it somewhere.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 30, 2012
    25
    How many doubts can Lee possibly cram into one motion picture? Red Hook Summer has almost too many to count: moments that go clunk, followed by others that go clang; actors who talk as if reading their lines off cue cards or rehearsing them for the first time; and set pieces that lie there.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 23, 2012
    50
    In truth, the film fizzles as much as it fumes.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 23, 2012
    63
    It's a scramble, marked by the unruly variety of visual strategies Lee prefers.
  8. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 22, 2012
    63
    Here is Lee at his most spontaneous and sincere, but he could have used another screenplay draft, and perhaps a few more transitional scenes.
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Aug 13, 2012
    50
    In this bad-better-best movie, the Flik story is the bad, the choir singing much better and Peters the soul-stirring best.
  10. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 12, 2012
    60
    The result feels like a sketchbook, both in a good and bad sense; it's alive and spontaneous and surprising in some parts, underdeveloped and shapeless in others.
  11. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 10, 2012
    70
    This is a film made by a wiser man who recognizes that everybody's looking for salvation in their own way. In the end, as the camera revisits the cast of broken, fallen characters, we may realize that Red Hook, as far as Spike Lee is concerned, is a state of mind.
  12. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 10, 2012
    12
    Formerly a maker of bad, but at least angry, movies, Spike Lee now seems to be trying to be the world's oldest student filmmaker. Take out the rookie mistakes from Red Hook Summer, and there'd be nothing left.
  13. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Aug 9, 2012
    60
    Spike Lee's messy, meandering, bluntly polemical Red Hook Summer has one crucial ingredient: a raw vitality.
  14. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Aug 9, 2012
    40
    We have little to hang onto once the film falls apart. Between the ongoing sermonizing and that final, sharp shock - which is gravely mishandled - we feel cowed into submission, rather than led towards enlightenment.
  15. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 9, 2012
    50
    It's painful to watch Red Hook Summer stumble, because the man behind it has tried so hard to get his groove back. However, it's energizing in the fleeting moments when he does just that.
  16. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Aug 8, 2012
    58
    The film's 121-minute running time is similarly cause for concern. Lee can be tight and focused as a gun-for-hire, but he's always viewed personal projects as irresistible invitations to self-indulgence and overreaching. Red Hook Summer is no exception.
  17. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 8, 2012
    42
    Red Hook Summer has some fantastic gospel numbers, but as drama it's a casserole that never comes together.
  18. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Aug 7, 2012
    80
    The new drama, best viewed as a church movie, is a return to the kind of corner-chat indie cinema Lee revolutionized, with an emphasis on a towering performance by The Wire's Clarke Peters as a local bishop inflamed with the Word.
  19. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Aug 7, 2012
    50
    An alternately evocative and lumbering portrait of a multifaceted community.
  20. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Aug 6, 2012
    30
    A clear failure, yet Lee is getting at things that mystify him, and I was touched by parts of the movie. [13 & 20 Aug. 2012, p.97]
  21. Reviewed by: Glenn Heath Jr.
    Aug 6, 2012
    75
    The seamless juxtaposition of faith and pain, innocence and guilt, allows the film to transcend Spike Lee's occasional bombastic moments and become a strong examination of internal suffering.
  22. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Jul 28, 2012
    75
    Ultimately, Lee's clarity of vision hasn't been this sharp or unique since before "Crooklyn," and it's thrilling with Red Hook Summer to witness a return to the technique – and most of all, emotional wallop – that even today continues to give his films an enduring life as both entertainment, and enlightenment.
  23. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Jul 20, 2012
    30
    Lee's latest rambles through almost two hours of unfocused drama, burdened with endless didactic editorializing, before lurching out of nowhere into ugly revelations and violence.
  24. Reviewed by: Ray Greene
    Jul 20, 2012
    80
    Red Hook Summer begins as a gentle character comedy and then erupts into a sudden reversal that is possibly the most powerful and disturbing sequence Lee has ever created. It's a film that makes you laugh, weep, rage and gasp, and, love it or hate it, you will definitely talk about it afterward.
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Jul 20, 2012
    60
    For those expecting Mookie's mid-career encore to signify a return to Spike Lee's roots, Red Hook Summer instead surprises -- and to some extent delights -- as yet another radically unique entry in the director's iconoclastic oeuvre.

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