HomeMoviesReview: The Hate U Give is a Movie with a Powerful Message

Review: The Hate U Give is a Movie with a Powerful Message

The Hate U Give
Photo Credit: Erika Doss

Written by Tom Moore

Is it just me, or are there more films than ever that have political and social themes as part of their plot?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not new–nor is it wrong–but if these themes are mishandled, it can make a film seem like it’s trying too hard to be relevant. That’s why these films need to be genuine and have real discussions to bring new thought. Thankfully, this is the best way to describe the impact of the adaptation the amazing performances in the film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s best-selling novel, The Hate U Give, which delves into issues of racism and police brutality.

Amandla Stenberg as Starr is at the forefront of the film’s message. Starr is truly someone to root for as she is plagued with grief from losing her two friends from both gang violence and police targeting. This kick starts her growth to speak out after living a dual life as she constantly feels like there are two versions of her: one that represents her black culture and the other that represents the mostly white private school she attends. Stenberg’s performance is truly captivating as she captures Starr’s complex identity issues with her race and growing hatred for the mistreatment of those that surround her.

Stenberg’s performance also carries Starr’s quietly traumatized nature as she is forced into silence due to her being targeted by a local gang and law enforcement. Many will share in her internal frustration to not speak against those that silence her and she often leaves others to be frustrated as well as they aren’t fully aware of her thoughts and feelings. But part of what makes Starr’s growth great is the way she truly develops strength and finds her voice. It’s a truly inspiring journey to watch and really has parallels to what is happening in today’s world.

Stenberg isn’t the only star, though, as the rest of cast brings great depth to each of issues surrounding its lead. Everyone else really paints the tough picture that Starr sees as she grows up and represent the different pieces that have prompted the slow build-up of emotion she faces after seeing her friend be gunned down by a police officer. It’s no surprise that the picture was painted so well, though. With supporting performances by Regina Hall, Common, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, and K.J. Apa, you have a cast that can do very little wrong.

The film is also extremely thought-provoking and has such strong material that audiences will undeniably talking about it long after they’ve left the theater. However, there might honestly be too much talked about and audiences can feel a little bit overwhelmed with thoughts and messages.

This overwhelming feeling could be paralleled with Starr’s feelings as she deals with issues of gang violence, police brutality, racial targeting, and plenty more, but it could give its viewers a headache trying to process it all. While all of the discussions in The Hate U Give are truly important, I actually found myself wanting to deter from thinking about it after because my mind just felt too exhausted from trying to process everything that was happening.

There are some truly stand-out moments in this film that distinguish it from other films in 2018 that carry the same messages and topics. The film never forgets to have a little humor and gives its viewers a second to breathe amongst the tough talks. These moments also showcase some family dynamics that bleed in some themes that are presented in a natural fashion.

Starr’s parents are very aware of their rough surroundings and they, especially her father played by Russell Hornsby, implement ways for them to survive amongst the racism that is part of their daily lives. But even with this harsh reality, Starr’s parents still promote ideas on why Starr should be proud of her race and why it’s important to speak when she has something to say.

The Hate U Give is truly a swell of emotion and makes a unique impact in a year that has already put discussing these issues at the forefront. It shares a reality that could be too harsh for some, but ultimately sheds light on important discussions. The Hate U Give has a truly triumphant voice that audiences should take the time hear.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Hate U Give is currently playing in theaters nationwide.


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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