If you like ‘Fruitvale Station’ and ‘Blackklansman’ sprinkled with a bit of teenage ‘Twilight’ magic then you will probably like this.
- Screenplay by Audrey Wells (A Dog’s Purpose) adapted from a novel by Angie Thomas
- Directed by George Tillman Jr (Notorious, Faster)
- Starring Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Russell Hornsby (Fences) and Anthony Mackie (The Avengers Francise)
- Budget of $23m
Initial Thoughts 💭
Another film released in 2018 highlighting the racial injustices still occurring in America. If the other films haven’t hit home yet, the Hate U Give certainly will, with no punches being pulled. Despite this having the feel of a teenage drama, it very much has a mature message that it wants to give. An extremely good film that will no doubt be a commercial success.
The ‘ccc’ review💭
Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) lives in two realities. Garden Heights where she lives, an African American community, and Williamson, a private school with mostly privileged white teenagers. However, one fateful night, Starr is the only witness to a police shooting of her friend in a traffic stop gone terribly wrong – and in an instance her two realities become distorted. What follows is outrage, injustices, racism and hatred and Starr is at the heart of the drama.
The opening half hour very much feels like a film catering for the teenage demographic. References to Beyonce, generic colloquial slang (“what sup girl”) and teenage arguments about boys did make us think again what we were watching – although it was very current and made us feel hip. But once the shooting happened, the cold hard facts dawned on us that this film is indeed very current….but for darker reasons.
The Hate U Give is as relevant as you get. Although ‘Blackklansman’, ‘Detroit’ and ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ all touch upon the same themes, they are all set in the 60s and 70s era. The Hate U Give brings us up to the present which sadly indicates that these issues have continued to exist from the times of those aforementioned films. More and more people are finding their voice through the media, and this is another opportunity to shine a night on injustices carried out by the police and a reminder that stark division still exist between people of different races and social classes.
Based on the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give is directed by George Tillman Jr., who produced Mudbound and Barbershop – this definitely fits in between these films in terms of intensity. After the initial opening scenes, it finds a great balance between drama and a bit of comedy – very rarely you will see the audience both laughing and crying, albeit at different moments in the film.
The film lead is Starr Carter (played by Amandla Stenberg) who also narrates the film. Her, along with the rest of the characters, asked the audience a lot of questions but fair balanced questions. A lot of credit must be given to the novel and adapted screenplay for handling the themes with both sensitivity and maturity – especially given its target teenage demographic.
Along with Amandla Stenberg, the Hate U Give stars Anthony Mackie (Avengers: Infinity War), Regina Hall (Girls Trip), Russell Hornsby (Fences) and Algee Smith (Detroit). Hall and Hornsby form a great duo as Stenberg parents helping to help put perspective in the film with their views and obvious concern as parents ultimately.
Final Thoughts 💭
The Hate U Give flip-flaps between different types of films, but regardless this is a very good film. Given the target audience this may miss out on any major Oscar nomination however we expect to be surprised. At a minimum, the cast have given all of themselves a springboard to go on to even better things. Most importantly you will leave the cinema with more questions and hopefully it helps people find a voice in this ever growing movement or at least a better understanding.
You don’t have to be a teenager to watch this film and want you will find is a realistic and honest film.