The Hate U Give (PG-13)

Based on Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel, directed by George Tillman Jr., and starring Amandla Stenberg (as Starr) and Russell Hornsby (as Starr’s father, Maverick). The Hate U Give is the ultimate coming of age story about a young lady who (after years of silence, much like Maya Angelou’s caged bird) finds her voice after witnessing the traumatic police shooting of an unarmed black man. Maverick prepares his children for the harsh realities of life, including drilling them from a young age on how to interact with law enforcement so they survive precarious police encounters. Unfortunately, the young man who was killed hadn’t been taught or hadn’t heeded these lessons.

The Hate U Give not only addresses police shootings of unarmed black citizens, it addresses problems in the black community that “the community” can work on to improve the quality of life therein. The phrase, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” kept coming to my mind while watching The Hate U Give and the phrase takes on several meanings throughout this film.

The Hate You Give highlights the fact that there’s not any one thing that needs to be done to combat police shootings of unarmed black citizens, the issue lends itself to a collective effort and consciousness shift that could be the “something good” that comes from all of this misery if dealt with properly. In a perfect world…

I haven’t felt so much emotion during a film in a long while. The Hate U Give made me laugh and cry, and in between there are many, many valuable lessons about life, loss, family, society, communication and more. Hell, I cried half way back to Brooklyn. The tears just would not stop! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this level of intimacy into the lives of a black family in present day America shared on film in such a relatable way; and to have a police shooting be the impetus to all the action is timely, important and brilliant. I’m talking about the type of intimacy where one can get an authentic glimpse of what a slice of black life is like for many black people in America, if one cares to.

The fictionalization of it all makes it much more palatable to examine and discuss the issue more rationally. And there will be much discussion, particularly if you take your children. And they all need to go see this film. I recommended a co-worker who has nieces (18, 13, 10 and 8 years old) visiting from Ireland this week see The Hate U Give with them. I cannot wait to hear her take when she returns from vacation. It’s got a PG-13 rating, which is pretty incredible given the depth of the subject matter.

George Tillman Jr.’s direction is spot on. The writing is strong, at one point things get chaotic and it’s smart because that chaos reflects all the things going on with this young woman and within this community. I was fully engaged and entertained. I felt the need to get out of that party, I felt the angst in that car, I was at Starr’s school when she went off, I was at that funeral, nearly embarrassed by and irritated with Seven’s ignorant mom. I was in Starr’s home with her dad and Chris. I was at that protest and felt all that frustration and rising rage. I felt as though I got a real, first person account of what was happing to the main character and her thought process. And here’s where that tricky perception thing comes in. You see, I’m black, I’m a woman and I come from a place not so different than from where Starr is from, so I can readily place myself in this young woman’s shoes and feel all these things she is feeling. That is the stuff of exceptional movie making.

Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby give award winning, 10 bloop worthy performances here. I felt the fear, joy, frustration, tears, elation, love, connection, and the inner turmoil of each of these characters. Stenberg’s character evolves into somewhat of a superhero. The supporting cast did an outstanding job as well.

The Hate U Give earned 10 out of 10 bloops. It may not be a “perfect” film but it is certainly a “masterpiece,” in its own special way. I recommend it to everyone I come across. It is one of the most powerful, well-acted, well written, well produced films of the year so far. It tells and excellent, timely story that not only attempts to fairly assess this difficult issue from all sides, but offers challenges, changes and solutions for black families, the black community, police officers and activists to ponder. The Hate U Give needs to be seen, heard, questioned and discussed. I’ll be reading the book shortly.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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