Be Kind Rewind

be kind rewind
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Be Kind Rewind” is a 2008 comedy film written and directed by Michel Gondry. This unique film stands out due to its creative plot, charming performances, and underlying themes about community and the magic of filmmaking. This article delves into various aspects of the film, from its storyline and characters to its critical reception and cultural impact.

Plot Summary


“Be Kind Rewind” begins in Passaic, New Jersey, where Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover) runs a struggling VHS rental store. The store’s existence is threatened by a redevelopment project, and Fletcher is desperate to save it.

The Incident

When Mr. Fletcher leaves town for a few days, he places Mike (Mos Def), his loyal but somewhat dim-witted employee, in charge of the store. Mike’s friend, Jerry (Jack Black), a mechanic who lives in a trailer near a power plant, becomes magnetized after an attempt to sabotage the plant. Unaware of his new condition, Jerry enters the store, accidentally erasing all the VHS tapes.

The Solution

Faced with angry customers and no movies to rent out, Mike and Jerry come up with a plan. They decide to recreate the films themselves using a camcorder and improvised special effects.

be kind rewind review
be kind rewind review

These homemade versions, or “sweded” films, include classics like “Ghostbusters,” “Robocop,” and “Driving Miss Daisy.” To their surprise, the sweded films become a hit with the local community.

The Climax

As their sweded films gain popularity, the store starts to regain some of its lost business. However, the increased attention also brings trouble. The duo faces legal challenges from Hollywood studios for copyright infringement. The community rallies around them, and in a heartwarming climax, they come together to create an original film celebrating their neighborhood’s history.

Themes and Motifs


One of the central themes of “Be Kind Rewind” is nostalgia. The film pays homage to the VHS era, a time when video rental stores were community hubs. It evokes a sense of longing for a simpler time, when the act of watching a movie was a communal experience.

Creativity and Ingenuity

The film celebrates creativity and ingenuity. Mike and Jerry’s sweded films are charmingly low-budget, relying on their imagination and resourcefulness. This DIY spirit underscores the idea that anyone can be a filmmaker with enough passion and creativity.

Community and Solidarity

“Be Kind Rewind” also highlights the importance of community and solidarity. The local residents come together to support the store and each other, showcasing the strength of collective effort. This sense of community is further emphasized in the film’s climax, where they create a film that captures their shared history and identity.


Jerry (Jack Black)

Jerry is a lovable yet eccentric character. His initial plan to sabotage the power plant leads to the magnetization mishap, setting the film’s events in motion. Jack Black’s energetic performance brings Jerry’s childlike enthusiasm and inventive spirit to life.

Mike (Mos Def)

Mike is the heart of the film. His loyalty to Mr. Fletcher and his determination to save the store drive much of the plot. Mos Def’s understated performance provides a perfect counterbalance to Black’s zaniness, grounding the film in a sense of earnestness.

Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover)

Mr. Fletcher represents the old guard, a man who has seen the rise and fall of his beloved VHS format. Danny Glover imbues the character with a quiet dignity and a deep sense of nostalgia for the past.

Alma (Melonie Diaz)

Alma is a local woman who becomes an integral part of the sweding process. She brings a sense of realism and practicality to the team, helping to keep Jerry and Mike grounded.

Directorial Style and Vision

Michel Gondry’s Unique Vision

Michel Gondry is known for his whimsical and imaginative style, and “Be Kind Rewind” is no exception. His use of practical effects and in-camera tricks gives the sweded films a handmade charm that is both endearing and impressive. Gondry’s background in music videos and his inventive approach to storytelling are evident throughout the film.

Visual Style

The visual style of “Be Kind Rewind” is characterized by its use of bright colors and inventive camera work. The sweded films, in particular, showcase Gondry’s talent for creating visually engaging content with minimal resources. This approach not only enhances the film’s nostalgic feel but also reinforces its themes of creativity and resourcefulness.


The soundtrack of “Be Kind Rewind” complements its whimsical tone. Featuring a mix of original compositions and classic songs, the music helps to create an atmosphere that is both nostalgic and uplifting. The soundtrack underscores key moments in the film, enhancing the emotional impact of the story.

Critical Reception

Initial Reception

Upon its release, “Be Kind Rewind” received mixed reviews from critics. Some praised its originality and charm, while others felt it was too whimsical and lacking in substance. Despite the mixed critical reception, the film has gained a cult following over the years.

Praise for Performances

Jack Black and Mos Def’s performances were widely praised. Critics appreciated Black’s comedic timing and energy, as well as Mos Def’s more subdued and earnest portrayal of Mike. Danny Glover’s performance was also noted for its warmth and depth.


Some critics felt that the film’s whimsical nature detracted from its overall impact.

be kind rewind movie
be kind rewind movie

They argued that while the sweded films were entertaining, the plot lacked depth and coherence. Additionally, some felt that the film’s message was overly simplistic and sentimental.

Cultural Impact

Influence on DIY Filmmaking

“Be Kind Rewind” has had a significant impact on the DIY filmmaking community. The concept of sweding, or creating low-budget remakes of popular films, has inspired countless amateur filmmakers to try their hand at creating their own versions of their favorite movies. This trend has been particularly popular on platforms like YouTube, where sweded films continue to be shared and celebrated.

Community Engagement

The film’s emphasis on community and collective creativity has resonated with audiences worldwide. “Be Kind Rewind” has inspired community film projects and events, where people come together to create and share their own films. This spirit of collaboration and creativity has helped to foster a sense of connection and shared purpose among participants.


Over the years, “Be Kind Rewind” has become a beloved cult classic. Its unique blend of humor, nostalgia, and heartfelt storytelling has endeared it to audiences around the world. The film’s message about the power of creativity and community continues to resonate, making it a timeless and inspirational piece of cinema.

Movie Info:

Partizan Films
Available in
January 20, 2008
Quality option
400mb 1.2gb HD
Michel Gondry
Main Stars
Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover
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