If “The Hate U Give” is the future of Young Adult film adaptations, sign me up. Finally, we get a break from the constant dystopian future or cliched teen romance stories that generally makeup the Young Adult genre. “The Hate U Give” is so unique in the fact that’s its subject matter goes way beyond the teenage genre, but this also a story that should be told to teens about the reality of our nation right now.
It’s the story of Starr, who is raised in a crime-filled, predominantly African-American neighborhood, but spends her days going to a rich mostly-white private school. She lives two separate lives and does her best to make sure they never intersect. That all changes when Starr is the only witness to her friend being murdered by a white cop during a traffic stop.
Kathryn Bigelow’s “Detroit” and Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” both tackled similar topics but they were both based on real events. “The Hate U Give” isn’t based on a specific event but it is the best film I’ve personally seen that has really put it’s audience in the mindset of the fear African-American families live with on a daily basis in this country- and the outrage and injustice that follows.
Amandla Stenberg is quickly becoming a star in her own right in the Young Adult film genre. And her performance in this film is light years above anything she’s ever done. She deftly holds her own as the film’s protagonist and she is stunning to watch.
The whole cast is perfect. Big shoutouts to Regina Hall, who after last year’s “Girls Trip” has really been proving that she is a movie star to watch, and Russell Hornsby, who gives an Oscar-caliber performance as Starr’s father. Watching the two of these phenomenal actors work opposite each other and try to protect their children from the world they grew up in is so devastating.
The screenwriter, Audrey Wells, sadly passed away last week- the night before this film opened in theaters. Her exceptional adaptation is another shining jewel in this film’s crown.
The Academy may have to get past the genre bias of a “Young Adult” film to get some nominations, but if ever a film was gonna break down that barrier- “The Hate U Give” is the one to do it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5
Awards Possibilities: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor