A movie based on the bestselling young adult novel by Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give,” captures a powerful message on police brutality and gun violence, while still maintaining to be an entertaining, teen melodrama.
The movie, as well as the book, follows the life of Starr Carter. Starr Carter is a 16 year-old African American teen who plays basketball and loves shoes ,but is constantly code switching between two lives, her life in Garden Heights: a predominantly black, poor, urban neighborhood which is mostly known for gang activity, and drugs. Her second life is in the predominantly white, wealthy neighborhood of Williamson, which is where she attends preparatory along with her two brothers. In Williamson, Starr refers to herself as “ Starr two”. She switches her personality around her Williamson friends and her Garden Heights friends because she does not want her Williamson friends to think of her as “too ghetto” and doesn’t want her Garden Heights friends, who she has known her whole life, to think of her as “white washed.”
The main plot of the movie begins as Starr attends a party in Garden Heights with one of her friends. At the party, Starr encounters one of her childhood best friends, Khalil. While Starr and Khalil are catching up, a fight breaks out at the party. The sound of gunshots causes everyone in the party to disperse in a frenzy, eventually causing police to arrive. Khalil, who offered Starr a ride home, is pulled over by the police when he fails to put on his turn signal. The officer who pulls them over is white. Khalil begins to get defensive with the cop, feeling that he did not have a legitimate reason to pull them over.
Eventually forced outside of the car, Khalil tries to calm Starr by reaching into the drivers window for his hair brush. The officer, mistaking the brush for a weapon, fires three shots at Khalil, killing him. Starr runs out of the car, and the officer handcuffs her placing her next to her dying friend, not calling for help. Khalil’s death becomes national news, with everyone wondering who the witness was. The movie portrays Starr’s struggles to keep her identity a secret, as she is afraid of what her friends at Williamson will think of her.
Amandla Stenberg, who plays the main character Starr Carter, did a fantastic job at taking on such a hard and important roll. Amandla, however, did face some controversy when taking on this role because she is mixed with both black and white, and has significantly lighter skin than the original character in the book. In my opinion, I do not believe her skin tone or her racial background affects the ways she can act and take on a role.
Although there are many wonderful things you could say about this movie, there are some downfalls. It is hard to find flaws in a movie with such a sensitive topic as this one; however, I believe that at some points, the movie seemed unrealistic. I know that there are many cities and areas in America with large amounts of gang activity but the actions of these gang members seemed slightly far fetched. The writers, along with the original author, Angie Thomas, did what was necessary to keep this movie a drama and interesting to viewers, but at points it felt like it was just too much.
This movie was very well written and brought light to a topic that is often talked about in the news. It helped many people get a better understanding by using many viewpoints from people in the same generation as many victims of police brutality and gun violence.
The movie did a good job at keeping the plot relevant to the message and remaining serious while still being able to make the movie funny at points. The movie was able to make you cry and also laugh, and that is always a good mix to have. This movie received an A+ from CinemaScore, as it deserves.
This movie gives a powerful message, not only on police brutality and gun violence, but also on finding your own voice and to not let others influence your decisions. I would not say “The Hate U Give” is the best movie of all time, but it is definitely a great movie and one of the more important ones that could spike a great family conversation and will definitely be remembered for a very long time.