The Hate U Give
Amandla Stenberg Stars in Adaptation of Searing, Inner City Saga
16-year-old Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) straddles two different worlds which never intersect: one, black and poor, the other, white and privileged. That’s because she lives in the ghetto in Garden Heights, but her parents (Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby) have sent her to Williamson, an exclusive prep school located on the other side of the tracks.
They know that Williamson gives her a better chance of making it out of the ‘hood than the local public high school, which is only good for girls who want to get “high, pregnant, or killed.” Consequently, Starr uses slang when hanging out with her friends on the block, although she always talks properly around her classmates.
Having different personas isn’t a problem until the night she accepts a ride home from a party from Khalil (Algee Smith), a close childhood friend she’d lost touch with. While obeying all the rules of the road, they’re inexplicably pulled over by the police, ostensibly for “driving while black.”
Starr quietly complies with the condescending cop’s (Drew Starkey) every order, since she and her siblings had been carefully trained by her father how to survive such an encounter. However, Khalil opts to challenge the officer and is shot dead in seconds when his hair brush is mistaken for a gun.
Within days, Starr finds herself suddenly being swept up into the eye of a media storm as the only eyewitness to the killing of an unarmed black kid by a white lawman. The community calls for justice, but the only hope of Officer MacIntosh’s even being arrested is if Starr testifies before the grand jury.
That is the compelling point of departure of The Hate U Give, a searing, inner city saga directed by George Tillman, Jr. (Notorious). The movie is based on Angie Thomas’ award-winning novel of the same name, which spent 50 weeks on the New York Times‘ young adult best seller list.
The heartbreaking bildungsroman features a top-flight cast, starting with Amandla Stenberg who is riveting from beginning to end as the terribly-conflicted Starr Carter. Also delivering powerful performances are Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie and Common in service of a timely story certain to resonate with African-American audiences.
A grim reminder of just how tough it is to be young, marginalized and black in a merciless environment oblivious of your plight.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, drug use and mature themes
Running time: 132 minutes
Production Studio: Temple Hill Entertainment / Fox 2000 Pictures / State Street Pictures
Studio: 29th Century Fox
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening October 19, 2018
Halloween (R for graphic violence, bloody images, nudity, profanity and brief drug use) 11th installment in the horror franchise finds Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) bracing for her final confrontation with Michael Meyers (Nick Castle), the masked serial killer who has haunted her for the past 40 years. With Judy Greer, Will Patton and Andi Matichak.
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Can You Ever Forgive Me? (R for profanity, sexual references and drug use) Adaptation of author-turned-crook Lee Israel’s (Melissa McCarthy) memoir of the same name in which she confesses to selling forged celebrity autographs and letters. With Richard E. Grant, Jane Curtin and Ben Falcone (Melissa’s husband).
The Guilty (Unrated) Suspense thriller, set in Copenhagen, about an emergency dispatcher (Jakob Cedergren) who gets more than he bargained for when he tries to search for a female caller claiming to be a kidnap victim. Cast includes Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargawi and Johan Olsen. (In Danish with subtitles.)
Horn from the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story (Unrated) Reverential retrospective recapping the career of the legendary bluesman. Featuring archival footage plus commentary by Elvin Bishop, Buzzy Feiten and Anton Fig.
Mid90s (Unrated) Coming-of-age dramedy set in L.A. in the ‘90s and revolving around a rudderless 13-year-old (Sunny Suljic) from a dysfunctional family who finds himself befriended by a motley crew of skateboarders. Written and directed by Jonah Hill, and featuring Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith and Olan Prenatt.
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The Price of Everything (Unrated) Modern renaissance documentary examining the skyrocketing prices of contemporary art. Featuring commentary by George Condo, Jeff Koons and Larry Poons.
What They Had (R for profanity and a sexual reference) Holiday drama, set in Chicago, about concerned siblings (Michael Shannon and Hilary Swank) who return home to pressure their father (Robert Forster) to put their Alzheimer’s-afflicted mom (Blythe Danner) in a nursing care facility after she disappears during a blizzard on Christmas Eve. With Josh Lucas, Taissa Farmiga and Sarah Sutherland.