The Hate U Give Movie a Must See

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Xander Christou, Staff Writer

More than 80 weeks at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List, a film adaptation already in the theatres, and 8 starred reviews. The buzz for Angie Thomas’s debut novel The Hate U Give has been nonstop since its publication last February, and with the movie hitting screens nationwide, there is another massive wave of hype. Arguably one of the most important and relevant stories of the decade, The Hate U Give is a story for everyone—a modern classic that uses its bold voice to speak up about present society and the social dynamics of America.

Thomas’s novel centers on Starr; a 16-year-old black girl from Garden Heights, who attends high school at Williamson Prep—a school full of preppy white kids. At school she’s more reserved and doesn’t give anyone a reason to think she’s “ghetto,” but the real Starr is outgoing and uninhibited. On the way home from a party, her childhood friend Khalil is pulled over by the cops and shot three times by a police officer because he was holding a hairbrush. As the only witness, Starr faces the difficult choice of staying anonymous or putting herself out in the public eye to demand justice for Khalil’s death.

The story is masterfully crafted to talk about so many different issues facing a modern America. While police brutality takes center stage in this story, it is definitely not the only issue that comes up. This story in a whole is about being black in America in 2018 and the racism, prejudices, and generalizations that are still very much evident today. Throughout the book and the movie, the audience gets to see the different issues that are a part of life in the black community—socioeconomic division, gang violence, police brutality and the cycle of hate that plays into the message of the story. Tupac is a big influence on the conversations in the story. This circle of hate is effectively brought up and conveyed through Tupac’s words from a 1994 interview—THUG LIFE: The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone. This refers to the unnecessary conflict between one culture that can be prevalent in communities with gangs and violence, and how it can have repercussions and affect the children of the future. The book and the adaptation portray this incredibly well, and makes it evident that Starr is conflicted; she feels it’s unnecessary and wants to know why these events and actions keep happening when it’s obviously not helping society.

Not only is this book relevant, but it’s timely—with the recent history of cop shootings of unarmed black men as well as gun violence at the forefront of the news and politics, this book couldn’t have come sooner. Police brutality against minorities is a prominent issue that stems from stereotypes, biases, and prejudices, and this book does a fantastic job of showing the often muted perspective. Not only was this movie everything I wanted and more; it blew past all of my expectations.

Starr Carter is played by Amandla Stenberg, who does a fantastic job at capturing the spirit of the character in the book and is incredibly convincing in conveying the emotions Starr feels. Her split personality is extremely well played; in the beginning, the shift from Garden Heights Starr to Williamson Prep Starr is as I imagined in the book—she changes into a completely different person. The characters do a great job playing their roles, but Russell Hornsby takes the cake. His portrayal of the protective, family-oriented, and tough-as-nails ‘Maverick’ Carter deserves an Oscar. His performance is raw and evocative; his fatherly spirit is just as inspiring as in the book and he made me emotional at times, especially when he consoled and empowered Starr.

The film tackles the main issues in the book and expands on them, but without a pushy agenda. It’s also one of the few movies based off of books with a mostly black cast, which is a landmark in and of itself. The cinematography is excellent and does a great job at distinguishing and creating different atmospheres between the two main locations. The framing is purposeful and effective, and while the runtime is pretty long, there are no lulls in the story. The ending is action-packed and brings the story full circle. It boldly brings up prominent issues and confronts them head-on; it takes a brilliant novel and turns it into an effective, accurate story on screen, and it shows that important issues can be brought up and discussed in a major motion picture. I would recommend this movie for anyone looking for a quality film that brings diversity to the screen and challenges preconceived notions. It’s beautiful, powerful, important, and should be a mandatory read and watch for everyone. 5/5 Maroos