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The Hate U Give (2018) | Review

By Jana Neimanns

Courtesy of IMDb

In light of Black History Month, I reviewed the movie The Hate U Give, which came out as an adaption of the book by Angie Thomas in 2018.

The drama is about a young teenage girl named Starr: she lives in a poor neighbourhood that is controlled by gang membership and goes to a predominantly white private school. Her two lives rip her apart because she cannot reconcile these widely different lives. After her friend gets killed by a policeman, Starr learns to use her voice and be unapologetically herself in both worlds of her life.

George Tillman Jr. produced the movie with a great cast of Amandla Stenberg, Russel Hornsby, Regina Hall, KJ Appa and many more.

Amandla Stenberg plays Starr. The portrayal of her struggles of being in both worlds; her white privileged school and her mostly poor black neighbourhood, is incredibly authentic. She tries to explain her dichotomy by telling her boyfriend: 'when I’m here, I am Starr Version 2’. The movie lets us be part of her decisions and shows how hard it is to find a balance in who she is.

Starr’s father, Maverick, is portrayed by Russel Hornsby. His character is a very important part of the movie because he was part of a gang and suffered to make it out. Now, he refuses to let his children go down the same path that had been. He encourages his children to speak up and never to 'Let nobody make you be quiet'. His presence in the movie is a powerful, supportive one. Maverick is hardworking and believes in his community, which enforces the fact that the black community (and the rest of the world) can stand united against police brutality.

The music in the movie accentuates the different parts of the storyline that the movie addresses. Examples are ‘We Won't Move’ by Arissa during the protest, ‘Keep Ya Head Up’ by Tupac and ‘Hold You Down’ by Jadakiss and Emanny. Music is powerful not just in the movie, but in real life as well. The songs combined with the movie convey a message of defiance, injustice and readiness to fight, which is exactly what is needed to tackle systemic racism in the US justice system.

Overall, the drama was as touching as it was real. I loved the dynamic of the characters and how the viewer can connect with the movie in some way, be it just the way a father loves his family. The viewer is taken along a journey of emotions and growth. For some, The Hate U Give will show a completely new reality that many people experience daily. For others, it might just be a reminder of how unjust the world is. Nevertheless, I encourage everyone to see it and to make up their own minds.


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