TL;DR – A powerful and unflinching look at life at the intersection of race, power, poverty, and privilege.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
One of the most important aspects of film, or indeed any media, is its ability to help you understand a different perspective. For many people in the world, the police are a source of comfort and protection, who you call when you are in danger. But for many people almost the opposite is true, and it can be difficult to understand why that is. However, that is what film is here to do, and that is what today’s film does.
So to set the scene, Starr (Amandla Stenberg) was only a child when her father Maverick (Russell Hornsby) gave her and her siblings Seven (Russell Hornsby) and Sekani (TJ Wright) the talk. No, I am not talking about the birds and the bees, I am talking about what you do when (not if) you get pulled over by the police so you can make it out of it alive. As Starr grew up her mother Lisa (Regina Hall) was determined to make sure she could have the best opportunity available for life and sends her and her siblings to a private school. This makes Starr create two sides of herself, the Williamson side and the Garden Heights side. All of this comes to a head when Starr runs into an old friend Khalil (Algee Smith) at a party. It was a chance to reminisce about the past and how they use to all dress up as Harry Potter. After a gun goes off at the party, Starr and Khalil race to the car, and that is when the world changes for everyone.
In many respects, this is a difficult film for me to review because I come from a different place and life. While I did grow up and live near what people in my area consider to be the low socioeconomic area where you don’t go if you can help it. However, I still come from a place of privilege so I don’t think I have ever lived in fear of the police. This created a weird dissidence for me where I could really identify with some of what happens, was completely not prepared for other parts of the film, and also saw some of myself reflected in many of Starr’s school friends, which was not a great thing.
If I could use one word to describe this film it would be tension, because you see it play out all throughout the film. From the moment of that first talk, the moment and character got into a car the tension was raised. There was tension between the organised crime elements and the rest of the society, the tension between the police and society. However, also more personal issues, like the tension Starr feels in herself between her two different personas. Or between Lisa and Maverick about how they should raise their kids, or indeed, where they should raise their kids. This gives the character texture that gives you a better insight into their lives, but also it gives every moment in the film weight.
of the highlights of the film has to be the acting, and with this, I want to give a special shout out to
Amandla Stenberg and her performance as Starr. So much of the film is resting
on her performance, which would be a daunting task on any film, let along here.
In The Hate U Give, she has to be
both the moral centre of the film, but also the character put in the most vulnerability.
You go through the highs and lows, the normal stuff with her boyfriend Chris (KJ
Apa), and then some of the most traumatic situations anyone could go through.
The film only works as well as it does because she is here for every moment,
every emotion, and it shows. However, the rest of the supporting cast is also
excellent, Anthony Mackie showing that he can do menacing, Regina Hill being
the source of all power in the world, Algee Smith having more charm in one film
than I will have in all my life. It is these powerful emotions displayed by the
cast that binds you to this film and makes you listen to its story.
If there was one area that I don’t think worked quite as well and that was the ending, so to talk about that there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. It did feel that the ending wrapped up all a bit too nicely like one action would make everything change for the better. As I was watching I kept waiting for the rug to get pulled out, however, I don’t think that was really the film’s fault and more of me watching too many cynical films.
In the end, do we recommend They Hate U Give? Yes, of course, we do. Films do not come as raw and emotional as this very often, but it was an important moment in cinema, and if you do get the chance I would recommend checking it out.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you watched The Hate U Give ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Hate U Give
Directed by – George Tillman Jr.
Screenplay by – Audrey Wells
Based on – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Music by – Dustin O’Halloran
Cinematography by – Mihai Malaimare Jr.
Edited by – Craig Hayes & Alex Blatt
Production/Distribution Companies – Fox 2000 Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment, State Street Pictures & 20th Century Fox
Starring – Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Lamar Johnson, TJ Wright, Algee Smith, Anthony Mackie, Common, KJ Apa, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Dominique Fishback & Megan Lawless
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13