The Hate U Give is a drama directed by George Tillman Jr. and written by Audrey Wells. It is based on Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel of same name. The Hate U Give focuses on racism and the numerous shootings of young Black unarmed men by White cops. The plot follows the fallout after a high school student witnesses a police shooting and is easily one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is a young high school student who tries to live a normal life in the suburb of an all-black district of Garden Heights, with her family. Starr’s mother, Lisa Carter (Regina Hall) and father, Maverick Carter (Russell Hornsby) sacrificed to send her and her half brother, Seven Carterto (Lamar Johnson) to Williamson High, a predominately White private school in a White neighborhood, to avoid the downfalls of a ghetto school and a ghetto neighborhood. Starr is quite popular among the students and has several White girlfriends, Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter) and Maya (Megan Lawless) are among her prep school friends, which also includes a White boyfriend named Chris (KJ Apa).
One night, Starr attends a local house party and runs into her childhood friend Khalil (Algee Smith). A brawl breaks out and shots are fired, so Khalil and Starr flee the party in his car. While driving Starr home, Khalil is pulled over by a police officer. In an unforgettable turn of events, Khalil is gunned down and shot dead in front of a horrified Starr, when the policeman mistakenly thinks Khalil is a criminal who was reaching for a gun that turned out to be a hairbrush.
Later, Starr is approached by an activist, April Ofrah (Issa Rae) who tries to get Starr to speak her truth to the media and the neighborhood. To complicate matters, Starr’s uncle Carlos (Common) is a police officer and King (Anthony Mackie) a local drug dealer who employed Khalil and is also Seven’s half sister’s Kenya (Dominique Fishback) father. In the aftermath of his death and funeral, citizens all over the city begin to demand justice leaving the traumatized but courageous Starr to find her voice and speak the truth about what happened the night of the shooting. Starr was concerned that the students at her school would single her out as a “poor Black kid” from the ghetto and feel pity while adopting a “hands-off” approach. Confused and angry, Starr eventually finds her footing and her truth. The back story regarding King, the neighborhood drug dealer is a little ify, in my opinion, but can easily be over looked.
The Hate You Give was so touching, I was not able to withhold my emotions, causing me to sob at the mere idea of an innocent person of any color being shot several times by a frightened cop. The story was told in such a way that it truly gets under your skin. Amandla Stenberg’s performance was flawless. I love the way the officer was portrayed as he makes a traffic stop displaying his over the top nervousness which in my opinion, is the reason rookie or improperly trained police should not be assigned to the streets. They appear to be so afraid of getting shot they cannot think straight. Maybe all police should wear bullet proof vest. Injustice on all sides are brilliantly addressed in The Hate You Give, making it one of the most powerful films to come along in quite some time. Excellent movie — check it out!