Spoiler-Free Movie Review: The Hate U Give

The highly anticipated adaptation The Hate U Give, based on the young adult novel by Angie Thomas, hit theaters on October 5th. The film, directed by George Tillman Jr., stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, and Russell Hornsby, among other big names.

Stenberg plays Starr Carter, a teenager trying to navigate her two identities: the Starr of Garden Heights, the predominantly black neighborhood where she lives, and the Starr of her white high school, where she can’t be “too black” if she wants to fit in. After a party in Garden Heights, Starr watches her childhood best friend Khalil get shot and killed by a police officer. Struggling with how to heal and help the larger fight for justice, Starr must find out how to stand up for what’s right.

This is an extremely powerful film. I was a huge fan of the book and read it practically in one sitting, so I was really excited to see how it would play out on screen. As expected, I cried through almost the whole movie. Even from the opening scene, the acting was phenomenal, and I felt for the characters like they were real people I knew. The movie deals with real-world issues that are so relevant to be thinking about right now, and the fact that it is tailored to a young adult audience is so important to get younger people involved. Stenberg really does shine as Starr, bringing raw emotion to every scene. The Carter family was really enjoyable to watch, and I loved the blend of hard-hitting scenes and comic relief.

Some things were different from the book, so if you were looking for a completely faithful adaptation, this wasn’t completely it. One of the things I didn’t really like was Chris’s role in the movie. Starr’s boyfriend plays a more active role in her fight to use her voice in the book, but he’s relegated to a pretty annoying role in the movie. He’s the typical ignorant white boy who doesn’t “see color,” and we don’t totally see him make up for that. While I like that an interracial relationship is one of the side plots of the movie, I feel like it wasn’t done as effectively as it could’ve been. The ending, too, was a bit different in the movie, and I feel like the message is different in the movie than what the book is going for.

Overall, I loved this movie and would happily see it again and again. It’s one of those movies that would make me feel everything so deeply no matter how many times I watched it. I think this is a film everyone should watch because the message is extremely relevant for the times that the United States is in right now.