#REVIEW: “THE HATE U GIVE”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
The Hate U Give is one of the most important films of the year.
The Film is based on the beloved Novel of the same name written by Angie Thomas. It follows high school student Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) who navigates between two different worlds. The first is her home, Garden Heights, which is a predominantly-black community and is where she was born and raised. Her other world is that of her predominantly white prep school, which her mother (Regina Hall) wants her and her brothers to attend. These two separate worlds come crashing down when Starr witnesses her closest childhood friend, Khalil (Algee Smith), shot fatally by a police officer. In the aftermath of the shooting, Starr mourns the loss of her friend while also using her voice to speak the truth of that devastating night.
There is no other film this year as relevant and significant as this. Director George Tillman Jr. and Screenwriter Audrey Wells adapt Thomas’ Novel perfectly and bring all the hard-hitting moments to the big screen flawlessly. It’s thanks to this Film that we know the YA genre can be so much more than what we have previously been given. Tillman Jr. focuses on the brutality of police shootings of unarmed black men and how it affects entire communities. This makes for horrifying and saddening truthful scenes, surrounding racism and police brutality, that are hard to watch. This Film isn’t only about the injustices that happen, it’s also about the love and connection communities have. It’s in those moments that he brings out the most beautiful and authentic scenes that enlighten and enrich audiences. The Film immaculately balances hate and love, and pessimism and optimism all while being entertaining for the masses. It isn’t only Tillman Jr. who is bringing all this to life — he’s assembled a powerhouse of talent in before the camera.
The brilliant Ensemble is led by the tour-de-force performance of Amandla Stenberg. We have seen Stenberg before, however, this is her breakout and most career-defining work to date. She completely encapsulates the growth is Starr from beginning to end. Stenberg understands that it’s subtle details that show the greatest change in Starr. By the end of the Film, she is a magnetic force and enraged ball of fury that can’t be simmered down, and we don’t want her to. Then there is Russell Hornsby, who plays Maverick Carter Starr’s father. Hornsby is a delight and manages to visualize the inner thoughts, both hopes, and anxieties Maverick has internalized. The rest of the cast including Issa Rae as a social justice leader, Anthony Mackie as a kingpin and Regina Hall, as Starr’s kind-spirited mother, are enchanting to watch and add bottomless layers to their characters.
The Hate U Give evokes a wide range of emotions from rage to glee, all while being entertaining and inevitably educational. If there is one film everyone should see, it’s this one.
20th Century Fox Canada will release THE HATE U GIVE Friday, October 12, 2018.