The Hate U Give is a poignant tale that deals with the aftermath of a police officer’s murder of a black teen. It shows you a girl’s struggle to fight against stereotypes as she deals with the result of being a witness to the shooting.
It is a raw and emotional tale that pulls no punches and highlights how the media, the police, and the community deal with the fallout.
1. Quick Review
The Hate U Give is a politically charged movie that offers social commentary using a set of complex characters and a strong script. It shows how the stereotypes that bind and limit the Black community hurdle their quest for justice.
The film is emotionally charged and will make you cry and smile as you follow Starr’s political awakening journey and activism.
2. Info & Watch Links
The Hate U GiveAir Date: September 7, 2018 Status: Airing Studio: 20th Century Fox, Temple Hill Entertainment
3. Is It Worth Watching?
The title is derived from The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. Tupac coined this phrase as an acronym for THUG LIFE. The phrase inspired a novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, adapted for the big screen.
The Hate U Give was banned in individual states in the US because of crude language, but the recent George Floyd Protests are proof that the book is relevant today.
I. Is It A True Story?
The Hate U Give is not based on a true story. Still, it is inspired by several incidents of police brutality and wrongful killing of citizens of the Black Community across America.
The central character of the story is a teenage girl named Starr Carter. In the movie’s opening scene, Starr’s father is giving her brother and herself “the talk.” He details the protocols to follow if their car ever gets stopped by a police officer and tells them harshly that it is a matter of life and death. This sets the tone for the events to follow.
Starr has always lived a dual life- she has a separate personality with her friends on the Black neighborhood community of Garden Heights. But her parents send her to a posh prep school named Williamson High, which is predominantly white.
To earn the approval and acceptance of her classmates, Starr often lets slightly racist jokes and remarks slide.
One night, when Starr is returning home from a party with her childhood friend Khalil, they get pulled over by a cop for no reason. When Khalil gets defensive, the officer asks him to step out while he examines his license and registration. All the while, Starr is pleading Khalil not to try anything and abide by her father’s guide.
When Khalil reaches through the window to get a hairbrush, the police officer shoots him without warning, thinking that he is drawing a weapon. He cuffs Starr and leaves her sobbing as her best friend lies in a pool of blood.
The shooting becomes national news, and Starr is encouraged by a lawyer to testify in front of a jury against the police officer. When she agrees, Khalil’s minor involvement with a local gang known as the King Lords also comes out.
While that has nothing to do with the incidents of that day, the media starts throwing dirt on Khalil, and the police pressure Starr to not testify. The neighborhood gang, of which Starr’s father Maverick was once a part, starts threatening her family after mentioning their name on television.
When the grand jury fails to convict the police officer involved, Starr emerges as a local activist and leader, leading protests and finding her own identity.
III. Detailed Review
Amandla Stenberg does a fantastic job of portraying Starr, a complex teen finding a voice and standing up for a cause. She is the central consciousness of the movie, and her journey, her conflicts, and her voice power the film.
Starr had always lived with one foot in each community, trying to please everybody. When her involvement in the trial becomes public, some of her friends warn her about the repercussions of going against the police and the Kings.
But she stands firm, rebuking her friends for their racist comments and stereotyping in the past.
The media’s coverage of the entire incident and their focus on Khalil’s involvement with the gang an excuse for his death is also depicted in the movie. When Starr blasts the media for their biased coverage, the scene feels necessary, refreshing, and powerful.
5. Final Thoughts
A community’s struggle to find justice and end the on-going war against police brutality is given a powerful and realistic depiction in The Hate U Give. It has a strong cast that delivers powerful performances and is a necessary watch. The screenplay and direction of the movie are also commendable.