Music and Movie Reviews | November 7th, 2018
The Hate U Give – Review
By: Joanne Jean
The Hate U Give is a thought-provoking, family-friendly, PG-13 film currently in theaters. Based on the young adult novel by best-selling author Angie Thomas, the movie stars Amandla Stenberg playing as the protagonist Starr Carter, who lives a double-life. Living in the neighborhood Garden Heights, an impoverished area considered “the hood” while enrolled in Williamson Prep, a predominately white private high school creates tension and division in her life. The film tackles police brutality and white privilege all while maintaining comedic and dramatic tones.
The story is told through Starr who is childhood friends with Khalil, a young black boy who is slain during a regular traffic stop. Khalil and Starr run into each other at a late night party and end up leaving together, unaware that this first encounter in years will be their last.
The movie addresses double standards that lie within society regarding interactions with police. The film questions how black children must be trained to act around cops to ensure their own life and safety amongst an official who is designated to secure it. It is also seen within a conversation Starr has with her uncle who is also a police officer. Both discuss and conclude that if Khalil was white, the brush he picked up from the driver’s seat would not have been mistaken for a gun. This stems from the stereotypes and stigmas black people carry on their shoulders the second they step outside their homes and institutions into the real world.
After the incident with Khalil, Starr begins to question her identity more than ever. She believes she is too black for her white counterparts, yet simultaneously too white for her black ones, torn between her two worlds. Challenging her relationships at Williamson, Starr begins realizing that her friends don’t actually know her, or at least the Starr she hides. This blooms her transformation in becoming more open and unapologetic with her blackness and all the struggles that accompany it.
During Khalil’s posthumous trial, the media and authorities made it their effort to paint Khalil as the criminal he wasn’t, asking Starr if he sold drugs or was in possession of any at the time of his arrest while avoiding significant questions about the actual murder. Despite these being fictional characters the hardships characters portrayed is a reality for a majority of Black Americans today here in the U.S. The color of his skin served as his attorney even after life didn’t give him a chance to have one.
The Hate U Give is an important movie for today, tomorrow and the years to come. Until police brutality is diminished and the Black Lives Matter movement is respected, movies and shows of this attitude will continue to be produced to inform and serve justice for communities that aren’t given the privilege they deserve in their own country.