In a time where superheroes and giant robots dominate the box office, it is always refreshing to see beautiful stories being told in the background. Tentpole movies are fun to watch, but the heart of the film industry is with the movies that actually try to tell a meaningful, powerful story to move a generation. The Hate U Give is not only great because it tells a compelling story without the use of excessive action, but also because it tells the type of story that society needs to hear right now.
Based on the best selling book by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give tells the inspired-by-a-true-story about a high school girl, Starr, who is stuck between two worlds: the privileged community at her private school, and the lower-class “hood” community that she and her family live in. After her childhood friend is shot in front of her by a police officer, Starr must choose between keeping her social image in tact and her family safe, or standing up against the injustice that she and her entire community face every day.
The Hate U Give certainly isn’t the first recent movie to try to tell a story like this, but it is arguably the most topical and compelling. Last year’s Detroit told a similar story, focusing on police brutality and riots, but it wasn’t modern day, so many people shrugged it off, seeing it as more of a history lesson than an eye-opener. The Hate U Give, on the other hand, is not one that can be shrugged off so easily. It leaves the audience with their eyes open, revealing what is happening today in America, and showing that many people are done letting things stay the way they are.
The biggest message of The Hate U Give was that injustice cannot go unignored. In order to truly fight evil, you need to speak up and let your voice be heard. This movie actively expresses this message, as the narrative itself is a message from everyone involved against the injustice that goes on throughout the United States. While the actual events of The Hate U Give are fictional, they were inspired by an actual police shooting, and similar events occur regularly in the country.
From a filmmaking perspective, The Hate U Give is sublime. Considering that the movie consists of many young actors, it came as a great surprise to find that every actor on screen performed phenomenally and from their heart, particularly the movie’s 19 year old lead actress, Amandla Stenberg. Stenberg tore her heart out on camera, with her tears soon becoming the audience’s tears as they cried with her. Every good filmmaker knows that the true emotion of a tragedy comes from the reactions of others, and for the entire runtime of The Hate U Give, Stenberg sold us on Starr’s reactions, making us laugh when she laughed, lose hope when she lost hope, and cry when she couldn’t hold back her tears any longer.
This is the type of story that the world has needed to hear for a long time, and all things considered, The Hate U Give told it in a truly extraordinary and powerful way. It brilliantly reflected every stance that people can have following a police shooting, showing that there are good and bad people on both sides of the scale. This movie from 20th Century Fox is a beautiful eye-opener that is an absolute must see, as it is a story that needed to be told and deserves to be heard.