Living in DC, I was lucky enough to see The Hate U Give come to the big screen two weeks before the rest of the world. I settled in for a good sob on Saturday afternoon and by the end, I had to change shirts because I had cried all my makeup off into the sleeves of the one I was wearing. Some changes were made, and the exposition gets a little awkward, but overall, The Hate U Give movies captures the raw emotion and great family connection of the book and will leave you in the feels.
I’m sure you know what The Hate U Give is about, but as a refresher, Starr Carter is a high school student living a divided world: her private, mostly-white school and her neighborhood, Garden Heights, run by a gang in many ways. When Starr is the passenger in the car as her childhood best friend is gunned down by a white police officer, she gets involved in the social justice movement in ways that she could never have imagined. Thrust into the spotlight and into the sharp divide between her two worlds, Starr must decide how she wants to use her voice and what she will fight for.
The movie takes this story to the screen, and the general plot is pretty much the same. The beginning exposition of Starr’s world and her neighborhood feels really really awkward on screen and the voice over is kinda cringey, but you quickly move past that and into the bulk of the story. The actor who plays Khalil has a great on screen presence for the few minutes he is on screen, but there’s an addition of some dialogue with him and Starr in the car and some actions added, that aren’t in the book, that kind of bugged me. It didn’t ruin anything, of course, but it rubbed me the wrong way. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, let me know once you have! Another change from the book involves a scene with Sekani at the end and yes, I’d already been crying for a good portion of the movie, but when this happened, I literally had to cover my mouth to stop myself from out-right sobbing. I was loud, it was emotional, I thought my chest was going to explode, but wow what a powerful moment. This was a change that is meant to make the book feel even more contemporary and just further feeds into the message of the title-The Hate U Give Little Infants F’s Everyone.
I think one of the best parts of this movie for me was the Carter family. Maverick is such a great character. The actor is amazing,he’s a complicated man that Angie Thomas didn’t try to sugarcoat by making perfect but she also didn’t throw him out for being human and making mistakes. Regina Hall’s portrayal of Starr’s mother is understated and great. She feels so realistically true in this role. I loved the actor who played Seven, even if he deserved more screen time. For above mentioned reasons, Sekani really steals the scene sometimes. I also liked Common as Uncle Carlos, something that felt well done. Amandla as Starr was fine. She was good, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve seen her in so many movies recently that it is hard for me to forget she is Amandla and is whatever character she is playing.She’s a talented actress and has some really great moments in this movie, but maybe it’s the cringey-ness of the voice overs that makes me not ADORE her performance.
Watch the Trailer Here:
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