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Movie Review of Good Hair Documentary by Chris Rock

Good Hair: A Funny, Informative Doc For Everyone

Chris Rock's first shot at a documentary was spurred on by a simple question his daughter asked: "Daddy, why don't I have good hair?" Good Hair is Rock's quest to find out what that is, and why we — men and women, black and white — care so much.

It's not a race relations angle as much as the trailer makes it seem, but rather an investigation into the phenomenon his two young daughters are growing up into: that straight European hair is what's desirable, beautiful, and worth lots of money and pain to get.

Check out Bella's review, and to hear what I liked about the film, just

.

As a documentarian, Rock excels at putting his subjects at ease, and his experts run the gamut. There are African-American women (particularly actresses like Nia Long and Eve), who can report their feelings firsthand about their hair and the extra pressure from Hollywood they endure to conform. Ice T is hilarious whether he's talking about silicone or wearing curlers in his hair for mugshots. Rock even gets Maya Angelou and Al Sharpton to deliver some of the documentary's biggest laughs. Yes, that's the kind of doc this is — one in which a political figure can make the momentous occasion of lobbying for Martin Luther King Jr. Day into a knee-slapping anecdote.

Watching a doc with as many one-liners as a Judd Apatow flick, I left wondering why more comedians don't make documentaries. Then again, Rock shows that he's green as a nonfiction filmmaker when he initiates conversations only to abruptly drop them. There is a lot to be said for black women striving for straight hair in a cultural context, and Rock raises this issue, but doesn't make a strong point about it. Particularly frustrating is Rock's discovery that most of the human hair sold as weaves in the US comes from India; specifically, from worshipers in India who sacrifice their hair to God in a ritual called Tonsure. Rock shows the Tonsure ceremony and the hair removal, but stops short of questioning what I think is a gross offense.

That's not to say Rock doesn't have some major revelations; he exposes the harms of sodium hydrochloride, also known as chemical relaxer (street name: "creamy crack"). His tenaciousness at that issue makes me wish he'd delved further into the other important matters of the movie.

On the whole, though, this is a solid effort for a first documentary, and it's surprisingly weighty subject matter. When you might think that he's gone a bit too far from his own point of reference, he brings it back to why he's looking at "good hair" in the first place —for his daughters. From salons in Beverly Hills to barber shops in Compton, Rock makes you laugh while opening your eyes to a hairy social subject.

Photos courtesy of Roadside Attractions

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pargie pargie 7 years
I'm African American and I'm excited about this film. I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds promising. I'm not expecting a Michael Moore doc at all, I think it's great that some light is being shed on this topic---and with such positive intentions. I doubt it puts black women in a negative light, as Chris' wife wears her hair permed and with extensions. He knows better than that :)
Bksuga Bksuga 7 years
lol like white women really thought our hair grew over night did any one else see him on oprah that was hilarous!!!
Bksuga Bksuga 7 years
um..yeah i am a african american women too i thought this movie to be made by a man trying to give his duaghters a insight into hair is a good effort. Personally i think that some people are making a big deal over nothing. some women feel offended that he exposed the secrets of black hair...it really wasnt a secret. To me as long as you do what makes u happy it shoudnt matter what your hair looks like. I hope when my little niece grows up i can explain to her the whole hype about hair. and that pic with the little girl with the perm oh no thats so wrong.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 7 years
It's good to see him calling out stupid prejudices
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