Directed by George Tillman Jr. and written by Audrey Wells, The Hate U Give is the story of a young girl named Starr who finds herself in a tough position after being the only witness to her friend Kahlil’s murder by a police officer during a “routine” traffic stop. Based on the novel of the same name written by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give is a sensational heartwrencher inspired by the tragedies that have been taking place in our country for decades—centuries, even.
Amandla Stenberg, who plays Starr, delivers an awe-inspiring performance. She is convincing and raw. She’s not the only captivating star (no pun-intended), however. The cast boasts a whole slew of names like Common, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, Regina Hall, and names a younger crowd should be familiar with such as KJ Apa and Sabrina Carpenter, among others.
The film’s greatest victory is that, although it is expressly liberal in its politically charged subject matter, it remains nuanced in dealing with the complex race relations in the country; it is handled with care, but it does not hold back.
The film is packed so tightly with information around multiple different, yet related, storylines, it is a wonder it doesn’t go on for five hours. This is a testament to the creators’ skill that they are interwoven so naturally. From big picture institutionalized problems among the black community to smaller subplots like Starr’s interracial relationship, the film has many important things to say.
It is for this reason that the film is a must see. It has the potential to spark healthy, productive, and comprehensive dialogue—but don’t worry, it is still an entertaining movie about the life of one teenager. Because of this, there has been some debate about who the target audience may be. I think the answer is everyone. When I sat in the theater watching it, I was surrounded by a diverse audience. Couples and families, friends and solo-movie goers were all present, but more importantly, there was a racially diverse audience. The film is skilled in addressing this type of audience. If you’re on the fence about seeing this movie, don’t be. It is worthy of your support.