Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

70% – Critics
62% – Audience

Roxanne Roxanne Storyline

In the late 80s/ early 1990s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita “Roxanne Shanté” Gooden was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets of the Queensbridge Projects in NYC.

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Roxanne Roxanne Movie Reviews

I hit you because I love you.

This is a biopic, or autobio pic of Hip-Hop Rapper Roxanne Shanti. She was rapping as a child, so as a teen she was quite good and recorded a record which gave her some notoriety, but not the money that she had hoped for. She still had life issues with a drinking mother whose main fault was that she trusted a man.

Shanti’s second job after rapping was being a punching bag. The problem with the film is this was just a slightly more than average life and really not worth making a film about it, although the acting was fine.

Guide: F-word. No nudity. Attempted rape, sex.

Mostly well made, and somewhat involving.

‘ROXANNE ROXANNE’: Three and a Hals Stars (Out of Five)

A Netflix original drama about a teenage girl in Queens, New York (during the 1980s), who had to fight to provide for her family, and defend herself on the streets, while also becoming a hip-hop legend at the same time (rapper Roxanne Shanté). The movie was written and directed by Michael Larnell (who also performed both duties on 2015’s ‘CRONIES’). It stars Chanté Adams, Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, Elvis Nolasco, Kevin Phillips and Shenell Edmonds. Forrest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams served as producers, and RZA did the music. The film was released by Netflix through it’s streaming site. I found it to be mostly well made, and somewhat involving.

The story begins in the New York Queensbridge Projects, in the early 1980s, when Lolita Gooden (Adams) was just a young teen. She had to struggle to support herself, and her family, and defend herself from predators constantly. Lolita was already a very gifted rapper at that age, that went by the name of Roxanne Shanté, and her musical talents helped her survive on the streets as well. This movie details her rise to fame, as she also struggled just to get by.

The film is another story about a very strong, and talented, young woman, that has to put up with constant sexism, and oppression, but still survives. It’s well shot and acted. It’s also really depressing, and frustrating at times as well. Obviously it’s an inspiring story in the end. I would have liked a little more from the third act though, the film seems to end without a strong emotional climax of any kind. Overall it’s a well made movie though.

Watchable, but lacking

Being an 80s baby, I was so excited to watch this movie. Once I saw that Pharrel Williams, Forrest Whitaker, and Nia Long were involved I got even more excited. Once I actually started watching–whole different story. The movie felt so disjointed. We never even really get to see WHY she was the best. In the opening scenes, we see Chante as a little girl going to battle a grown man, but then…nothing! It cuts to another, unrelated scene. I enjoyed seeing her home life and the relationship with her mom and sisters, but that should’ve been the backstory. As a pioneer for females in hip hop, I think she deserved better. The movie should’ve been written in such a way that a millenial could watch it and get a feel for the 80s hip hop scene and what truly made Roxanne Chante significant. This feels like just another hood movie.

On a positive note, the acting was great. Nia Long and Mahershala Ali were phenomenal like always. Chante Adams was good, but the story didn’t let her shine like she could have.