Who says YA adaptations have to be only fluff? There are few movies I’ve seen as emotionally powerful as The Hate U Give. I don’t care if the original target audience for the novel was tweens, this is a movie that everyone needs to see.
The story centers around Starr, a black high school girl caught between two worlds; the poor primarily black community she lives in and the affluent white high school she attends. While she hates herself for having to live two lives with two personas, she realizes it’s the only way to get by. That is until she’s the passenger in the car of a childhood best friend, and witnesses him getting shot and killed by a police officer at a traffic stop. In the aftermath of an event that’s bigger than her, she has to learn how to use her voice to stand up for her home community, even if that means alienating the other.
I felt a weight on my chest for the entire movie that didn’t lift until after the credits rolled. The whole time, I felt like I was on a hair trigger that would send me to tears at any moment. A few times, I did nearly lose it. I don’t know that I can further put into words the emotional impact of this film.
Our Starr, Amandla Stenberg, truly is a STAR. She carried that story with grace and power that actresses with twice her experience don’t even have half of. Everything I felt watching this movie, I felt because of her.
Starr’s parents were the other pillars of this movie, played by Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall. Their relationship was everything. I truly admired the love they had for each other, and the strong example they led for their children. They instilled such strong values in them, it gave me hope for humanity. If there are fictional characters that strong of character, there must be some that exist in the real world. They truly set an example for how I would want my hypothetical future family to function.
The other thought I left this movie with was that I realized that so many of this year’s best movies are made by black filmmakers. I know there’s still a long way to go, but this is proof that representation matters. These are the stories that need to be told, and I love that they’re starting to trickle out there. I can’t wait to see what comes next. I just hope my heart can take the impact.
The Hate U Give – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/