The Hate U Give


D: George Tillman, Jr.

20th Century Fox/Temple Hill/State Street (Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Robert Teitel & George Tillman, Jr.)

US 2018

133 mins


W: Audrey Wells [based on the novel by Angie Thomas]

DP: Mihai Mãlaimare, Jr.

Ed: Alex Blatt & Craig Hayes

Mus: Dustin O'Halloran

Amandla Stenberg (Starr Carter), Regina Hall (Lisa Carter), Russell Hornsby (Maverick Carter), K.J. Apa (Chris), Algee Smith (Khalil Harris), Lamar Johnson (Seven Carter), Common (Uncle Carlos), Anthony Mackie (King)

Are you woke? If you don't know what I mean by that phrase, it's how social media phrase the awareness of racial or cultural issues and the disparity between people based on this. Personally, I think it's a bullshit buzzword for people to score points and make themselves feel better.

The Hate U Give is a woke drama, based on a young-adult novel by Angie Thomas and taking its title from lyrics of a 2pac song ("The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody"). The story focuses on Starr Carter, a teenage girl from a black neighbourhood who goes to a school for privileged wypipo and parties in the 'hood, where she socialises with Khalil, a young drug dealer (but a nice one because he likes Harry Potter). When driving home with Starr, Khalil is shot dead by a policeman because he misunderstands "keep your hands on top of the vehicle" as "reach in through the car window for an item which may or may not be a weapon". 

The police officer is suspended for his actions, and the community rallies behind Starr to give evidence at a legal hearing, but she's reluctant because of Khalil's ties to King, the neighbourhood drug dealer.

Despite an excellent lead performance from Amandla Stenberg and great supporting performances from Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby, I found this film to be a pretentious dirge, laced with social justice propaganda and the main reason is because the characters (aside from members of the Carter family) are so poorly written and some of the dialogue is deliberately contrived to bait.

In 2016, when her husband Will Smith wasn't nominated for an Oscar, actress Jada Pinkett released an outraged video where Hollywood needs to address its "unconscious racism" and "more films for us" need to be produced - is this honestly what she was alluding to??

I'm absolutely fine with films which highlight social issues, but when will there be a film which focuses on disparity between the rich and poor (& why is Jada Pinkett not outraged on YouTube about that). 

The questions which this film raises aren't solved, they're not even looked at in any microscopic detail and it only exists to pour fuel on a fire, rather than educate. Watch a documentary instead (or Boyz N The Hood, Crash, Do The Right Thing, Fruitvale Station, Selma, 12 Years A Slave... even District 9). If you read (or write) Buzzfeed or Huffington Post articles, you'll probably like it a lot more than I did.


Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give
Amandla Stenberg in The Hate U Give