We live in an amazing time for cinema when movies can give us whole new perspectives on lives so vastly different from our owns are readily available. Films that focus on the fears and walk of life that we might often take for granted. Films like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Sorry to Bother You” and “Black Panther” have done that well this year, but another film to join those ranks is “The Hate U Give.” But the difference with this film is that it’s perspective is primarily for a younger audience without giving any easy answers to this troubling and complicated world.
The film is told from the perspective of a 16-year old black woman, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who lives in a troubled but culturally rich part of town while attending an upscale yet uppity high school, essentially stuck between two vastly different worlds. But this comes crashing down when Starr witnesses a police officer shoot her defenseless best friend, and her worlds are forced to collide in the most racially charged manner possible.
Stenberg’s performance is the backbone of this movie, trying to handle the delicate situation of handling two societies when there is so much discomfort in her heart. She is just as confused and passionate as the rest of the country is with this situation, and demands that some action be taken. For a film aimed at a teenage audience, that is a poignant message, which makes this the most powerful film for the young adult audience this year.
While the film can often go a bit over-the-top with its message and keeps hammering it in many times over, “The Hate U Give” tries to tell a complete picture of this complex situation. It’s not just from Starr’s perspective, but delves into how outsiders react to this situation, as well as from the officer’s point of view and what they’re trained to do in this situation. The film doesn’t do anything easy or simple, just like this real life chaos.
Final Grade: B-