‘The Hate U Give’ is one of year’s best and most important
Anytime I read a fantastic book, I walk into the theater hoping the film does the book justice. I know it’s often impossible to put an entire book into a two-hour movie; yet, the powers that be did an excellent job with “The Hate U Give.”
Sure, there are omissions and a few tweaks here and there, but I think fans of the book will be more than satisfied.
“Hate” tells the story of Starr Carter (Amanda Stenberg) who lives in the poor, predominately African-American neighborhood of Garden Heights, where selling drugs is often done out of necessity. Starr and her brothers attend a private school in a nearby community, daily going into a world of privilege and wealth, far away from the neighborhood they grew up in.
One evening, when Starr attends a Garden Heights party, she runs into her childhood friend and crush, Kahlil. After taking a ride in Kahlil’s car, Starr watches him die when a police officer mistakes a hairbrush for a gun. At this point, Starr finds she can no longer keep her Garden Heights life separate from her private school world.
“Hate” is an exceptional movie for many reasons. The entire cast, from principal to supporting players, brings an intensity and an incredible depth to each character. Not one performance falls flat. Stenberg is phenomenal, able to show each new emotion and the harsh changes Starr goes through with every inch of her performance in every scene. Regina Hall and Russel Hornsby as Starr’s parents are wonderful, deep, emotional characters. I hesitate to begin pointing out individual performances, as there wasn’t a poor one in the bunch. An outstanding cast, right down to uncredited extras.
The one thing I liked most about the movie was that it chose not to be preachy. We hear viewpoints from all people, including the privileged “white kid” who just doesn’t get it. We hear police officer Uncle Carlos (played by another fantastic actor, rapper Common) describe what goes through an officer’s mind when he pulls someone over. Most importantly, for all the audience members who don’t “get it,” we get to hear the perspectives of people from these neighborhoods.
Everyone gets their say. Everyone appears to be human.Even the villains of the story seem to have soft sides, to an extent.
This an important and exquisite movie that everyone needs to see. My grade: A+
“The Hate U Give” is rated PG-13 and runs 2 hours, 12 minutes.