The Westwind

Movie review: ‘The Hate U Give’

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The book cover of

The book cover of "The Hate U Give."

Caitlin Danborn

Caitlin Danborn

The book cover of "The Hate U Give."

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After a best selling book, author Angie Thomas’s “The Hate U Give” is finding its way to the big screen. The book follows African American high schooler Starr Carter, who lives in a black neighborhood but attends a predominantly white school. When Starr witnesses her best friend Khalil shot dead by a white police officer, she is caught in the aftermath and must decide if she is going to speak up or stay silent.

The movie stars two popular young actors: K.J. Apa from “Riverdale” and Amandla Sternberg from “The Hunger Games.” Apa plays Sternberg’s white boyfriend, Chris. Sternberg’s performance is powerful enough on its own that it overshadows Apa’s, and their relationship is not quite as strong as it was in the book. However, Apa’s role as a white ally to Starr is important. In a particularly moving scene, Apa tells Sternberg that he “doesn’t see color,” and she responds “that means you don’t see me.” This moment is a reminder of the necessity for empathy–and for letting people tell their own stories–in today’s increasingly polarizing world.

While the movie contains some graphic moments, it is overall very powerful. Without giving away too much, Khalil is shot on screen, and a number of other violent moments take place over the course of the film, including riots and beatings. However, the violence portrayed is perhaps what makes the film most powerful: it is unflinching and real. This movie will remind its audiences of the power of film to open our eyes to other experiences that we may not have.

Along with police brutality, the movie explores familial relationships and race relations in America. This movie is not just about race relations; it also has a common theme of being true to oneself and standing up for one’s own personal beliefs.  

Given the controversy that surrounds police brutality, this movie could not be more relevant. All Americans need to see this, just so they can understand what may be a different point of view from their own.

“The Hate U Give” is out in theaters now.

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