The Hate U Give is a heart-wrenching, intense, funny, captivating and raw film. Based on the 2017 bestselling young adult novel by Angie Thomas, the urgency and need for such a story to be told in our current times is self-evident. With only 18 months between the book being released to it becoming a full feature film, the complexity of being a black youth in America is addressed in a tender, yet much-needed approach.
The film revolves around Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black teenage girl from the low-income neighbourhood of Garden Heights. It is a marginalized community that resembles many others in the United States and the families that live in that environment. Starr witnesses her childhood best friend Khalil being fatally shot by a police officer – an event that induces the discourse surrounding police brutality and what the phrase ‘serve and protect’ means depending on your race and class.
The film encompasses themes of systemic racism, interracial relationships, issues of power and guilt, and being true to your life’s purpose. Each character battles their own inner demons while shaping their identity in suppressive situations. From expressing the privilege of having a voice to learning the necessity of using it, not only for yourself but for those that do not have a voice any more, The Hate U Give teaches important life lessons.
A laugh-and-cry movie, the stories depicted on the big screen are ones that last a while with you. Pain and love are not just felt throughout the fictional story but are emotions that continuously rack your brain as you go about your day to day life. The film is one that needs to exist and needs to be seen. Thought-provoking, emotionally driven, and a film that does not hesitate to highlight subjects and topics that may be too uncomfortable to discuss otherwise, The Hate U Give is a dynamic, influential and unforgettable film that deserves recognition.