Based on the novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give tells an emotional story of a young African-American teen who witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend by a police officer and the after effects of the trauma on her life at home and at the upscale school that she attends.
Amandla Stenberg plays Starr, the young girl who struggles to find her voice after the horrendous event. Stenberg was the best part of a bad movie earlier this year in The Darkest Minds and she was absolutely astounding here. Her boyfriend was Archie Andrews (just kidding… K.J. Apa, who plays Archie on Riverdale was Chris, her boyfriend here). Apa was really good in the film as well as a remarkably supportive boyfriend. Starr’s father (who was on Grimm) Maverick (Russell Hornsby) was brilliant as well. Regina King played Starr’s mother. Common was an uncle. Anthony Mackie was here too.
However, Mackie’s character was a fairly stereotypical black drug dealer character and his inclusion did not create much in the movie. There was a connection between Mackie and Maverick, but it was not developed enough.
This movie is one of those important movies that is difficult to watch and I may not want to see it again. There were some moments here that were just heart breaking in its intensity and realism.
I have to say that it was so apparent that there are feelings that I, as a white male, can never truly understand that African-Americans spend every day living with. The first scene with Maverick teaching his young children how they were to handle themselves when they get pulled over by the police really shows the way the mindset differs. It was very painful and shook me. I watched the unfolding of the story with shock. I mean, we know this happens to African-Americans, but to see it illustrated here was difficult to see.
This was a long movie, but it did not feel that way. It felt shorter than the Robert Redford movie that I saw on the same day and it is 45 minutes longer.
The ending of the movie did seem to be a little nicely wrapped up for what had just happened, but the scenes proceeding the ending were so tense and anxiety-ridden that you can almost forgive that.
There is a lot of pain in this movie and you can feel it with every scene. It brought tears to my eyes several times as it shows the racial struggles that are daily occurrences for African-Americans. If only we could find that nice ending in the real world too.