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Movie Review: The Hate U Give

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Movie Review: The Hate U Give

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The Hate U Give recently released into theaters, is taking the box office by storm, grossing 26.6 million domestically. The film is an adaptation of best selling author, Amaya Harper’s novel about about a teenage girl named Starr who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend at the hands of the police. The book cleared from the shelves when it came out in February, so there was no doubt that the movie would have an equally exciting reaction.

The movie speaks about a range of racial concerns in our country but more specifically the Black Lives Matter movement, conversations about race police shootings of young and unarmed black men, “colorblind” white people, the racist justice system, and gang violence.

What makes The Hate U Give different is that is narrated by Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) a black teen whois well aware of how her blackness plays a role her everyday life. She lives in Garden Heights, a predominantly black neighborhood that’s home to violence and gangs, but she attends a predominantly white private high school in another neighborhood called, Williamson Prep.

One night, Starr goes to a party in Garden Heights, where she linksup with her childhood friend Khalil (Algee Smith). Early on, it is revealed that Khalil was her first crush and her first kiss, but they grew apart after Starr was enrolled at Williamson, a result of the murder of Natasha, Khalil and Starr’s late childhood friend. When a fight breaks out at the party, Khalil offers Starr a ride home to make sure she gets there safely. On the ride they are pulled over by a cop for a routine traffic stop, which escalates and the police officer shoots Khalil after mistaking his hairbrush for a gun. Khalil dies, sparking a national outrage. Starr is not only traumatized but conflicted, should she speak up for Khalil, or stay quiet and avoid the attention?

The Hate U Give can be considered a sad story, but it also depicts romance and light-heartedness. Maverick and Lisa’s (Starr’s Parents) love and open affection towards each other gives Starr something to look forward to as she grows and finds love on her own. Starr’s relationship with Chris, who is white, is complicated by the two trying to understand each other’s differences.The movie includes funny scenes into its serious story, like Chris trying to guess whether mac and cheese is a side dish or an entrée, giving the element of humanity back into the story. This reinforces the fact that tragedy never exists purely on its own, and laughter lets the audience relax for a moment before the movie reminds them that these characters are fighting for justice just like the rest of The Garden.

Ultimately, the main theme of The Hate U Give is to find your voice and use it to save lives and make noise about the issues people are too scared to talk about. We watch Starr go through the stages of grief and all while fighting for Khalil’s justice and finding comfort within her family. The film gives a more prominent voice to the fictional character of Starr while also giving a voice to the real life issue of racial injustice in America, which deserves full attention and riveting books and movies just like The Hate U Give.

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