The Hate U Give Movie Review
“The Hate U Give” is a movie that shows while people may be Black and White, the world they live in is never just black and white. But just when the tone of the movie might start sounding preachy, it comes right up and grounds the characters in good ways. First, they are grounded in family, then grounded in friends, then grounded in the neighborhood, then finally in the community. Inner city Black areas or in gentrified, mostly White, suburbs — the story is the same.
‘The Hate U Give’ (as quoted in lyrics from a rap song) lead into the next step. That next step teaches children the wrong way. Then it all gets FUBAR, so to speak. Blacks in the ‘hood feel that Prejudice, Prosecution, Poverty and the Police are pushing them down. When you are pushed so far down, then any way out seems fine. It could be a gang, it could be drugs and alcohol, but it just might be that strength of a family’s love is enough to elevate you out.
Starr (Amandla Stenberg) is a teenage Black girl who lives in the downtrodden section of Fremont. However, she attends high school in the high-class area of the town. She feels she wears two faces, one for her home and her ‘hood, but a different face for her school friends and her White boyfriend Chris (KJ Apa). Starr attends the school with her half-brother Seven (Lamar Johnson). Her very forceful mother Lisa (Regina Hall) along with her equally tough father Maverick (Russell Hornsby) both have raised her to be proud of herself and self-assured of her race. She knows to keep on the right side of the law, and to always be non-confrontational with police.
But Starr had been very close to a guy named Khalil (Lamar Johnson), who she has known since a young girl. Starr is out at a party in the ‘hood with her half-sister (Dominique Fishback), and she runs into Khalil. There is a fight and gunshots outside, so everyone leaves. Khalil takes Starr with him and will take her home. But they are stopped by the police. There is a shooting, where the cop thinks that Khalil is going for a weapon. It turns out to be a hairbrush. Starr is devastated, and the world that she knew is now gone. She continues to try and walk gently between the two worlds that she is in.
But she does not feel that she will really belong in either one. In the ‘hood, her family is threatened by King (Anthony Mackie), who is the head of a drug ring and part of the group that Khalil was dealing for. She does not feel at home in the White high school, where the other girls always look at her as if she were an alien. Her boyfriend Chris is still in the dark about how Starr is the only witness to the shooting. But Social Justice workers flood the ‘hood, and they want Starr to work with the Grand Jury to indict the quick-draw cop.
She feels she owes it to Khalil to be the voice that must be heard in the Legal System. But her uncle is Officer Carlos (Common), and he knows that the prosecutors will find any possible way to not press charges against a cop. But will the anger and rage go from a simple simmer to then becoming a boiling pot of hatred? Will the street gang feel the need to impose their own brand of justice on Starr, if they feel that she had testified and will bring the heat down on the drug operation?
This movie takes an extremely talented cast to create a world and a situation that makes a profound impact on the viewer. The story could be taken straight out of current headlines, and it strikes a somber tone. Every idea about bias and judgment will be questioned. The director has wonderfully laid out the difficult road that everyone must choose. Will they embrace the THUG life, and lead the next generation into chaos? Or can they raise their voices to speak for those who cannot, and attempt to bring peace and justice to the world?
Every actor in this movie is amazing, but none less than Amandla Stenberg. In the mail role, she portrays a young woman who is torn by events that surround her. Yet she remains strong and works to bring hope to her family and her community.
There is a ‘message’ in “The Hate U give”, but it delivers it in a very honest and sincere way. You will be moved by the story, the events and the truth behind the emotions. Perhaps you will not agree with all the viewpoints, but you will again be reminded: world we live in is never just black and white.
The Hate U Give Review
The Hate U Give Summary
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Screenplay by: Audrey Wells
Based on: "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Common, Anthony Mackie
Length: 132 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements, some violent content, drug material and language
Genre: Drama, Social Commentary