You Need to Read Ava DuVernay's Emotional Review of 'Straight Outta Compton'
By John Boone
If you have been waiting for Ava DuVernay’s seal of approval before seeing Straight Outta Compton, here it is.
Not just because she’s a prolific black director (Selma), but because she grew up in Compton at the same time rap group N.W.A. was rising to fame. While the movie relishes in its $60.2 million opening weekend haul -- as controversy over omissions of violence and misogyny arises -- Oprah Winfrey herself has called it “powerful!” and an “eye opening rap education” for herself. Then she asked for Ava’s review.
Ava needed more than 140 characters to express her feelings though. Instead, her review, in which she fact-checks the events of the movie while also sharing personal memories from her youth, unfolded over 18 tweets:
Ava also tweeted about the “surprising” lack of violence at screenings:
Here’s her review, transcribed, if it’s easier to read that way. Or if you just want to read her beautiful words again, we wouldn’t blame you:
“I saw Straight Outta Compton last night with friends at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South Central with a beautiful, alive, invested audience. Invested because many of them, like me, were there. Teens at the very time and in the very place depicted on screen. It had better be right. And damn, they got it right. Under F. Gary Gray’s brilliant direction and Matthew Libatique’s gorgeous cinematography, I was transported back.
“I saw the militarized Batterrams again. Rolling up our streets like invaders in a war. My friend asked, ‘Is that real?’ Yep. That happened. I saw the cavalier way that women were treated in hip-hop spaces early on. Window dressing at most. Disposable at worst. Yep, that happened. I was in the street during the Rodney King Uprising. After that unjust verdict. Feeling anger. And community. And fire. And love. Happened. I remember the truce. So when that shot of red and blue bandanas tied together flashed on screen? Wild applause in my theater. It happened.
“The music of my youth and how it came to be and why it was what it was. We rapped along, clapped, laughed, cried. For all that has happened. All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us. Gray captured it. He captured the plight of the black artist in general, once consumed by systems and structures not made for them. The struggle is real.
“To be a woman who loves hip hop at times is to be in love with your abuser. Because the music was and is that. And yet the culture is ours. From depictions of the origins of ‘Bye Felicia’ to watching Cube bring his wife Kim to business meetings. That's hip-hop. A curious thing.
“But for all the terrific acting, solid production design, swoon-worthy cinematography and fab costumes and hair, one sequence brought a tear. I leaned forward in my seat and put my hands to my face and gasped. As did many around me. Someone shouted, ‘HELL YEAH!’ This sequence... Sunday on the 'Shaw. I can't tell you what it was, what it felt like. You had to be there. Gray gets you as close as you'll ever get. Hundreds of black young people cruisin' down Crenshaw. The raw energy. The cars. The brothers and sisters. The majesty of it all. A tear. It was maybe a one-minute sequence in the film but it all came rushing back. This film did that for me on multiple levels. It's fantastic. Congratulations to F. Gary Gray and all involved. Another classic now under his belt. Your craft and care is on full display. Bravo, brother.”
Plus, Dr. Dre told ET that the movie gave him “goosebumps.” Find out why: