Watch Cooley High
- 1 hr 47 min
Cooley High is a 1975 coming-of-age drama set in the mid-1960s in the Cabrini-Green public housing development of Chicago. Directed by Michael Schultz, the film tells the story of a group of high school seniors and their everyday struggles in a predominately African-American community. The film centers around two best friends, Preach (Glynn Turman) and Cochise (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs). Preach is an aspiring writer who dreams of leaving the inner city behind and attending college, while Cochise is a talented basketball player with hopes of securing a scholarship to a university. Together, they navigate through their final year of high school, facing typical teenage issues such as romantic relationships, peer pressure, and authority figures.
However, life in their urban neighborhood is not always easy. They both come from difficult family backgrounds, with Preach living in a crowded apartment with his mother and younger siblings while Cochise's father is absent and his mother works long hours to provide for her family. Their financial struggles often force them into endeavors to earn extra cash, which inevitably leads them to making questionable decisions.
Throughout the film, the friends also interact with a variety of memorable characters, including classmates and teachers. One classmate in particular, Pooter (played by future comedian Garrett Morris), is a quirky troublemaker who provides comedic relief and serves as a contrast to the more serious themes of the movie.
Cooley High is a poignant examination of the ups and downs of adolescence and the unique challenges faced by inner-city youth. The film openly depicts racism, police brutality, and social inequality- aspects of African-American life that had not been shown on screen in a mainstream motion picture.
Despite these heavy topics, the film is equally filled with triumphant moments of joy, humor, and camaraderie among the characters. Its musical score, including songs by The Chiffons, The Dells, and The Four Tops, captures the exuberance of the time period and adds to the film's overall atmosphere of nostalgia.
The film is shot in a realistic, documentary style, with handheld cameras and natural lighting, which gives it an intimate and authentic feel. This technique allows the viewer to become fully immersed in the world of the characters and their stories.
Cooley High was received positively upon its release, praised for its honest portrayal of African-American life and its use of humor to balance its heavier themes. The film has since become a cult classic, beloved by critics and audiences alike, and has had a lasting impact on American cinema as one of the first movies to showcase the realities of African-American urban life.
Cooley High is a 1975 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 72.