Directed by George Tillman Jr.
There’s a bunch of fictional films released this year, not to mention documentaries, with a focus on racial prejudice and related injustices in America. BlacKkKlansman, Sorry To Bother You, and Blindspotting are just a few examples of a big list now expanded with The Hate U Give, the new drama by African American director George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete).
Based on Angie Thomas’ novel of the same name and scripted by Audrey Wells, the focal point concentrates on Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), a 16-year-old black student from the problematic Garden Heights neighborhood, who witnesses her longtime friend Khalil (Algee Smith) being shot dead next to his car, after has been pulled over by a nervous young white cop.
When she was nine, her father, Maverick (Russell Hornsby), who just like every black man in that neighborhood had problems with the justice, gave her a very first lesson about how to behave in the case of a police officer tells her to pull the car over. The altercations with the King Lords, the gang that controls the neighborhood, starts when Starr mentions them on a TV interview arranged by lawyer/activist April Ofrah (Issa Rae). The latter encourages her to speak up with her own voice and denounce publicly the case.
Starr comes to the conclusion that discrimination exists even among her own people. And it's her uncle Carlos (rapper Common), a police officer, who reveals it.
Not everything clashes between black and white people and that’s a positive factor here. Starr has a courageous white boyfriend, Chris (KJ Apa), who loves her with all his heart to the point of giving the first step to meet her belligerent father. On the other hand, her best friend Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter), also white, starts acting in a provocative way after the traumatic episode. Incidentally, the scene that captures a quarrel between the two feels catastrophically artificial.
Besides didactic, the film carries the expected passion, objection, and anger to transform itself in something dramatically appealing. However, clichés in the storytelling as well as in the visual dynamics are a reality, while the surprises are few.