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The Hate U Give shines a spotlight on Black Lives Matter

Algee Smit as Khalil and Amandla Stenberg as Starr in Twentieth Century Fox's "The Hate U Give."

Powerful and chilling from start to finish, “The Hate U Give” is a riveting movie based on the best-selling novel by Angie Thomas. The novel and film deals with the heated ideological debate between Black Lives Matter, an activist organization creating a world without “anti-blackness,” versus Blue Lives Matter, a support organization for law enforcement agents.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is whisked into a whirlwind of political controversy and activism when she is the only witness to her friend Khalil’s (Algee Smith) death after he is shot by a white police officer. Starr’s life before this tragedy consisted of watching “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reruns, playing basketball and keeping her two worlds--Garden Heights, the black neighborhood where she lives, and Williamson Prep, the predominantly white, private school she attends-- separate. Everything changes, however, once she is the only one who can tell the story of a tragic event that becomes national news and sends her hometown into chaos.

Screenplay writer Audrey Wells portrays heart wrenching scenes that film director George Tillman Jr. masterfully illustrates on screen to depict the harsh and honest truths many African-Americans face today. Watching a young girl sit helpless next to her childhood friend while he is bleeding out, hearing racist comments in schools and throughout the justice system, witnessing police brutality and listening to captivating speeches about the importance of life itself from today’s youth are just a few examples. These are moments young Starr must deal with head on throughout the movie.

Despite the drama-heavy nature of the film’s plot, it kept audience’s spirits high with the relatability of the characters and their lifestyles. Starr gets her courage from her parents because their love, though nauseating to their own kids, is a symbol of strength despite a tough past. The audience laughs through moments of Starr introducing her father to her rich, white boyfriend and her relationship with her two brothers Seven and Sekani.

But the most inspiring and important message in the movie is the power of voice. Starr has always been quiet about her past, and begins this journey planning on doing the same to cope with the death of Khalil. Once Starr sees how Khalil’s death is being used and misinterpreted and the officer who shot him is about to walk away free, Starr refuses to sit quietly any longer. But coming forward, Starr is quick to learn the backlash speaking out has with Garden Heights viewing her as a snitch and Williamson Prep viewing as a girl from the ghetto. Regardless, Starr’s voice still ripples through news channels and carries power. Most may be looking to her to lead this battle for justice, but she only has one goal--to be a good friend to Khalil.

This film serves as a critical piece of living history for the what is occuring in our world today. Though it may not mimic the book exactly, the force present throughout the book is there and the emotion is impactful. “The Hate U Give” is a must-see movie no matter what one’s political or social views are.

Grade: A+

“The Hate U Give” opens in DC on Friday, October 5th

pbigora@theeagleonline.com


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