The Hate U Give

M 133 mins

About the film

Release Date: Jan 31, 2019
Director: George Tillman Jr.
Actors: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby
THE HATE U GIVE is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Mississippi-born writer Angie Thomas. The title comes from Tupak Shakur’s album “Thug Life,” which stood for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody,” referring, of course, to the effect of racism on our society. In the words of Tupac, “What you feed us as seeds, grows, and blows up in your face…” Young children internalize the hate given to them by society. This is a teen movie with a difference: "It serves up a message that feels so fresh it can't be dismissed — not of hate but of hope. It's a perfect balance between coming-of-age story and social drama. You leave the theater wanting to root for the film and its characters."

The film is about Starr (Amandala Stenberg, who gives an astonishing performance), a young black teenage girl struggling with her identity while living in a predominately black and crime filled area while also attending a predominately white school where she is one of the few black kids. Starr explains that she lives two different lives, presenting two different versions of herself (code-switching). It challenges clichéd ideas like “not seeing color,” as Starr emotionally confronts her white boyfriend by saying, “If you don’t see color, you don’t see me.” This is ultimately a film about identity as Starr struggles to find herself, but it’s also a film that is unabashedly about blackness.

Starr witnesses the unwarranted shooting of her childhood best friend by a trigger-happy cop and now must find her voice when so many people are telling her what to do. It’s the latest police shooting of an unarmed black man, and the case becomes a national scandal. Starr is the only witness. The Black Lives Matter undercurrent gives The Hate U Give a relevance and topicality far beyond the teen pic’s normal parameters. Even before the shooting though, director Tillman Jr.’s film proves uncommonly astute at delineating the code-switching tightrope its young heroine must walk between the two worlds in which she operates.

The Hate U Give an emotional powerhouse and you can feel its raw energy in every scene. An incredibly important film.

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