Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Chris Rock
Director: Jeff Stilson
Chris Rock visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of the black commu... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Dani A. from NORTHAMPTON, MA
Reviewed on 7/16/2011...
As a black woman, I thoroughly approve of this movie. It shows the world how hard black women, and even some men, try to (subconsciously) be as white as possible by changing the natural beauty of their hair. Thank you Chris Rock ^^
4 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Issue Of Hair In the Black Community
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 10/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Comedian Chris Rock takes a look at the lengths some people in the African-American community, especially women, go to for "good hair". Near the beginning and end of the movie Rock visits the Bronner Hair Show in Atlanta, Georgia, a huge trade convention for the manufacturers of black hair products. Here he highlights four stylists competing for the title of champion platform performer, an elaborate stage show featuring music, dance, costumes and, of course, hairstyling. In between Rock discusses all the time and money spent using relaxer and getting weaves as well as the possible psychological and cultural reasons behind this obsession with hair.
Rock's take on the subject seems to be that it is more important what's in your head than on your head. But it also recognizes the pressures placed on black women to fit in with society's beauty standards and understands why these women forsake their natural hair for perms and extensions. The film delves into serious subjects but maintains a funny and playful tone throughout. I certainly found myself laughing more than I did at the usual Hollywood comedy. And I even left the theater feeling a little smarter about a topic I knew almost nothing about. One of the better documentaries of the year."
A Mixed Effort, Good Overall
Alexander M. Walker | Chicago, IL USA | 02/21/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Even if Good Hair has its faults, it deserves credit for heightening awareness of a situation bubbling up in African-American culture: the hair industry. The documentary works hard to hammer home the unfortunate truths about how the modern standards of beauty require all women to conform to a straight-haired style, which for African-American women involves a chemical which essentially robs their hair of proteins and has the potential to eat through their scalp if left in for too long. It's a journey that starts with an innocent question from Chris Rock's daughter and spirals into the actor's quest to lay bare the reality of the burgeoning African-American haircare industry and the growing trend of weaves. As informative as it is entertaining, Good Hair suffers from a lack of an overarching goal, attempting to create one out of an otherwise unrelated sub-plot consisting of a hair styling competition at the nation's largest hair product convention.
Good Hair covers the right points to make its message count. First and foremost it tackles the controversial role of relaxers, the chemicals which straighten hair. Chris Rock goes at it from all angles: the danger the chemicals pose, how much money a woman spends on the treatment every year, the social stigma that comes from not using them, and even what it means to a man who knows the woman they love expects to have the treatment done on a normal basis. Little girls and women alike speak out on how much the process hurts, how young they were when they first used relaxers, and why they keep coming back to it. The interviews happen in a variety of settings and often give Rock a chance to let his acclaimed comic skills run rampant. The subjects often seem quite at ease even as they realize how ludicrous the whole process is when they say out loud what it is they do to keep themselves looking "ideal".
The film "culminates" at the Bronner Brothers Hair Show which features a wide array of spectacles including seminars and a competition where barbers and stylists face-off in an over-the-top stage show combining speed, beauty, and theatrics. It's visually stimulating, which accounts for director Jeff Stilson's using it as the final segment. But it's out of place. Rock spends so much time laboring over the unfortunate circumstances of the current state of the African-American hair industry, that a totally unrelated segment about hair-fashion divas duking it out onstage makes the situation feel pathetic instead of slightly redeemed. If anything, the competition feels like a marker for the film to make its transition from analyzing relaxers and their effects to weaves and how African-American hair isn't suitable for a quickly growing industry. Rock takes the opportunity to interview a healthy selection of current stars including Raven Symone, Nia Long, Maya Angelou, Meagan Good, Eve, and Kerry Washington about their choice to use weaves to stay current with modern beauty trends.
As an interviewer Chris Rock makes it work - most of the time. Some interview segments run a bit too long and you have to witness that moment of awkward silence where it becomes clear Chris has nothing much to say to his subjects beyond the questions he asks them. Thus, when their relevant responses end, there's often no witty remark or comedic zing to finish it off, just Rock going "yeah" and then looking about nervously waiting for the cut. If it was intended for an awkward laugh then it not only fails but is entirely unnecessary as Rock is able to generate his own comedy without having to rely on uncomfortable silences. It was a poor editing choice, luckily it doesn't happen every time.
DVD Bonus Features
Besides a worthwhile audio commentary by Rock and Producer Nelson George, there's only a theatrical trailer. Luckily the film has enough meat on its bones to sustain itself as a viewing experience without too much supplementary material.
Insightful Film on African-American Hair
Gayle Tiller | San Jose, CA | 02/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Good Hair" is an insightful and hilarious documentary by Chris Rock on the issue of African-American women's hair. Chris Rock provides an in-depth view on relaxers and weaves.
I'm biracial with extremely thick out-of-control curly hair. There have been times when my hair has broken combs, curling irons and hair brushes. When I was younger, I used relaxers to straighten my hair. Most of the time, they'd last for only a week or two before my hair reverted to its natural state. And there were times when my scalp was burned by the lye. So I could definitely relate to the coke can with the lye demo in the film.
I wanted to give Maya Angelou kudos for not getting a relaxer until she was 70. When Chris Rock remarked that Ms. Angelou had waited her whole life for a relaxer, I loved her retort that she wasn't dead yet.
I almost fell out my chair laughing when Chris Rock tried to sell African-American hair to beauty shops. At the same time, it was sad commentary. Why is African-American hair worth nothing? Why can't we embrace all types of hair?
I also was saddened that African-American high school girls thought that natural African-American hair was "unprofessional" and "bad." Again, why is straight hair good? Maybe if Michelle Obama and other powerful African-American women started to wear their hair natural, we would finally embrace natural African-American hair. Just a thought."