“The Hate U Give” is a young adult dramatic film that goes in depth on the social issues of racism, classism and socioeconomic status. It premiered in select theaters on Oct. 5, with a full release on Oct. 19, 2018.
Based on the novel by Angie Thomas published in Feb. 2017, “The Hate U Give” takes place in the African-American dominated neighborhood of Garden Heights. The protagonist is a 16-year-old named Starr Carter. After Starr goes to a party and gets a ride home from her old friend Khalil, they get pulled over by a white officer who eventually shoots the teenage boy after he reaches for a hairbrush, which is mistaken for a weapon. Since Starr is the only witness to the event, she must decide whether she should speak up for her dead friend or keep her name out of the media for her own wellbeing.
Throughout the film, Starr must balance her double life of going to the private school out of town and being in the neighborhood where her family lives, while also mourning the loss of Khalil. At her predominantly white school, she does everything to make sure no one classifies her as “ghetto.” She doesn’t use slang, even if her white classmates use it, and lets people get away with things like cutting in front of her in the lunch line to make sure she isn’t labeled with having “attitude.” When Khalil dies, her world gets turned upside down and she notices how dishonest she has been to her true self by living a double life.
One of the stand-out quotes from the movie references one of the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s tattoos, “T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.” As Starr and her friend Khalil drive, he emphasises the quote “The hate you give little infants fucks everyone.” Essentially, the quote signifies that if children go through suffering such as racism, gang activity and oppression, when they grow older the anger that spurs from them is inevitable. Starr suffers through a traumatic incident of witnessing a death, which eventually sparks her to protest her society.
This movie addresses the many innocent black lives taken by police officers. With a differing perspective on the issue, rapper and actor Common portrays a black cop that explains the position of officers who arrest individuals and have to survey a situation in a fast manner in order to maintain the wellbeing of all citizens. Overall, the film recognizes that there are prejudices within society, but inspires the audience to keep fighting for equality.
Initially, I was afraid that the movie would not live up to my expectations, but “The Hate U Give” was done beautifully. The screenplay, cinematography and the soundtrack of the film combined to create a both somber and empowering mood. Amandla Stenberg was a wonderful choice for the protagonist. She acted, in my opinion, a performance that is deserving of an Academy Award. The amount of emotion and power that she is capable of displaying is mind-boggling. This is a movie that everyone should see.
If you would like to watch this flick, the movie theater R/C Lexington Exchange in California, Maryland plays “The Hate U Give.” Less than a half hour away from campus, catching a movie is a nice activity for St. Mary’s College of Maryland students.