The Hate U Give

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
The Hate U Give
Erika Doss

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A prep-school teen witnesses a fatal act of racial violence and must make a decision in this timely, ethically complex film

Racially charged police shootings in America show no signs of stopping, but the Black Lives Matter campaign has at least raised awareness of the problem. A whole new crop of films has as well, including the recent Blindspotting, but the one best positioned to make a difference is this teen-targeted adaptation of a bestselling YA novel, driven by a fierce performance from The Hunger Games breakout Amandla Stenberg.

Stenberg plays Starr Carter, a girl torn between two worlds: the tough neighborhood where she lives and her fancy private school. She carefully keeps them separate, until she witnesses the police shooting of a childhood friend and is forced to take a stand. Speaking out risks reprisals against her family, as well as gang violence courtesy of a drug lord called King (Anthony Mackie), who has publicly laid claim to the victim. On a personal level, this will upend Starr's life at school. But staying silent offers no guarantee of safety either.

It’s an awful dilemma for anyone, let alone a teen, and while Starr has the support of loving parents, she must ultimately decide on her own. It’s in weighing cause and consequence that the film excels: director George Tillman Jr (Barbershop) has often been saddled with weightless popcorn fare but here he leaps at the chance to make something with purpose. The result is a little long and occasionally unsubtle, but it’s an undeniable howl for justice and accountability.


Release details

Release date:
Thursday January 31 2019
132 mins

Cast and crew

George Tillman Jr.
Audrey Wells
Amandla Stenberg
Regina Hall
Russell Hornsby
Anthony Mackie

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