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Movie Review

Good Hair

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language including sex and drug references, and brief partial nudity.

Reviewed by: Rosemarie Ute Hoffman

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Documentary, Comedy
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 9, 2009 (select cities)
October 23, 2009 (wide)
DVD: February 16, 2010
Copyright, Roadside Attractions click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Roadside Attractions Copyright, Roadside Attractions Copyright, Roadside Attractions
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Roadside Attractions

Hair in the Bible

SELF-IMAGE—I’m ugly. Why was God so unfair to me this way? Answer

Women in the Bible

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad.

Featuring: Chris Rock, Maya Angelou, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Salt-N-Pepa, Eve, Melyssa Ford, Meagan Good, Andre Harrell, Ice-T, Salt-N-Pepa, Sarah Jones, KRS-One, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, T-Pain, Raven-Symoné, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Chris Rock, Al Sharpton, Tracie Thoms, Kerry Washington
Director: Jeff Stilson
Producer: Chris Rock Entertainment, HBO Films, Nelson George, Jenny Hunter, Kalynn Jenkins, Douglas Miller, Kevin O'Donnell, Chris Rock, Jeff Stilson
Distributor: Roadside Attractions

“Sit back and relax”

“Good Hair” is an original documentary bursting with humor, starring Chris Rock, as he asks anyone and everyone, “What’s your definition of good hair?”

This film is woven with informative commentary, comedic conjecture, exaggeratedly truthful remarks, and an explosion of expletives (including 2 f-words, 8 misuses of God’s names.

Rock’s motivation comes from being the father of two young girls. One of them asks, “Daddy, why don’t I have good hair?”

On a mission, Rock delves deeper into why women do what they do for outward beauty. A seasoned comedian, he uses his brilliant quick wit when interviewing celebrities and professionals alike. Also, visiting barbershops, Rock probes men on financing weaves and the protocol for sex with a weave wearer. He even dares to search for honest answers at women’s hair salons. Both are the social centers in the community and encourage an open forum style where conversations usually lead to candid talk.

All in the name of beauty, women obsess with looking beautiful, no matter the discomfort or cost. This film educates the viewer on the process of relaxing black hair using a chemical relaxer, Sodium Hydroxide, which causes damage to the scalp and hair follicles with adverse effects on the body. The most startling fact revealed by a professor is that the same chemical base in relaxers can bring about erosion on aluminum cans. Still, black women continue to subject their scalp and hair to the “creamy crack” to achieve silky smooth straight hair. Rock uncovers that young black girls suffer the “burn of a perm” in a lesser potency relaxer called a “kiddie” perm.

Many celebrities can afford upwards of $3,500 for a weave and the costly maintenance that goes along with it. Yet, the 9-to-5 working mom with a family purchases an equivalent budget-buster on a layaway plan. The Reverend Al Sharpton takes a closer look and adds, “We buy what we want rather than what we need.”

Reverend Al Sharpton raises some poignant questions throughout with a no watered-down sermon. The Reverend repeatedly breaks down barriers and misconceptions concerning the black culture. His words harsh at times; nevertheless, thought-provoking regarding “economic retardation, combing your oppression and exploitation, subsidizing,” and more.

Dr. Maya Angelou expresses with eloquence that “Hair is a woman’s glory.” It is her crowning glory, and without less than perfect tresses or having none at all, can prove to be a predicament. A women’s femininity, her self-esteem, and how the world views her is contingent upon an attractive head of hair. Though we embrace baldness in men and remain impartial, women are not so fortunate. However, a few revolutionary women are proclaiming, “I am not my hair.” In particular, Sheila Bridges an Interior Designer with Alopecia says, “Wearing a wig felt like I was hiding.”

There are many solutions for non-surgical hair replacement to include weaves, extensions, 3/4 cap design, hairpieces, and full wigs. The deciding does not end there. Do you want human or synthetic hair? Do you want a natural looking part? Are you active and swim? All of this can be overwhelming. Eventually every woman decides for herself what works, while considering comfort, lifestyle, and budget.

Synthetic hair is unlike human hair, in that it cannot be styled with heat, changes texture from environmental pollutants, fading color, and replaceable after 6 months of wash and wear. Human hair is a hot commodity. In India, it is their biggest export. In a religious ceremony, Indian women sacrifice their hair and leave it at the temple. The temple then sells it benefiting from the profit. Rock points out that most do not know where their hair ends up; disclosing that most of it is goes straight to Los Angeles, “the weave capital of the world.”

Rock gets the job done seeking out truth, but adds filler when he covers the Bronner Bros. Hair Show in Atlanta where the Hair Battle Royale showcases the best hairdressers. The rehearsal and competition resemble the hot mess of reality television where lingerie, diamonds, and custom boots overshadow the art of styling hair. The only positive is a Christian competitor who boldly claims, “I believe in greatness… greatness in Jesus Christ,” while speaking of the importance of prayer and fasting.

Whether women have kinky, nappy, straight, curly, or no hair at all, will come to a place of liberation in good time. Then making a choice to invest time, energy, and money on improving the beauty within that radiates outwardly—seeing as women of beauty in the Bible are women of character [Proverbs 31:30].

Women in the Bible

Biblical women with admirable character, include: Mrs. Noah, Mary (mother of Jesus), Esther, Deborah, and Milcah, daugher of Zelophehad.

The next time you ask yourself about good hair or who calls you beautiful, start by finding out what God says in the Holy Bible—and dismiss the world’s vision of a perfect woman.

Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
      you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
      Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
      I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
      you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
      before I’d even lived one day.

“Of all the things that God made good,
None are better than you;
God made you extra special
When God made you!”
Colors Come from God… Just Like Me! by Carolyn A. Forché

Violence: None / Profanity: Heavy / Sexual vulgarity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
PositiveChris Rock made a good effort in attempting to explain the unique issues that African-American women have regarding hair. He could have gone a little bit deeper, however. For example, African-American women facing discrimination in the workplace because of ways they wear their hair was touched on, but not explored further. Most women, regardless of race, will relate to seeing other women go through changes in the name of beauty. There is some profanity and a few references to sex, but nothing overwhelmingly offensive.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Hillari Hunter, age 47 (USA)