The Hate You Give (2018) – The Merciad

Released in theaters in 2018, The Hate You Give is an American drama film co-produced and directed by George Tilman Jr. and written by Audrey Wells.

Based on Angie Thomas’ 2017 YA novel, protagonist Starr Carter recounts her childhood best friend Khalil being killed by a man after mistaking a hairbrush for a gun. The tragedy of a police officer mistakenly shot in front of her.

A 16-year-old black girl, Starr lives with her family in Garden Heights, a poor and predominantly black community; this is in stark contrast to the fact that she and her siblings attend Williamson Prep School By contrast, this is a private school in a wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood.

With a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 7.5/10 rating on IMDb, critics and moviegoers alike felt all the cast’s strong and extremely moving performances. The film was also nominated for the 2019 BET Best Film Award.

Cinematically, the film is very realistic and depicts the reality of the many people of color (PoC) living in America today. Whether it’s the extreme life-like protest scene near the end of the film, or a more subtle innuendo to portray the diametrically opposite situation found in Starr’s life, the film deftly captures many of the issues the PoC has to deal with.

For example, the colors of Williamson Prep School are blue and white, and the associated scene is lit with cool blue tones, giving the scene an almost cold, unwelcoming and unfamiliar feel.

By contrast, the furniture and lighting in Stahl’s home in Garden Heights feature warm shades of orange and red, giving Stahl and the audience a cosy and homey feel.

Throughout the film, Starr internally struggles with what she sees as two different sides of herself, which she presents to others to fit into her two different worlds. “When I’m at home, I can’t be too much of Williamson [Prep]When I’m here, I can’t be too Garden Heights,” said Starr. She felt she had to divide herself into two distinct personalities that couldn’t coexist.

As the film progresses, Starr also learns the power of her own voice and how she can become a “star” in the eyes of others, a beacon of hope.

Named after a star because it gave him hope during a very dark period in his father’s life, Starr’s name is both symbolic and literal. Figuratively, Starr illuminated the darkness of blatant racism in America; literally, she acted as the leader others followed when she realized she was capable of using her voice as a weapon. She revealed police brutality in her neighbouring community through bravery and courage to stand up and do the right thing.

By the end of the film, Starr learns that she can no longer separate her two different identities and must stay true to herself and those she loves and cares about. She learns to no longer tolerate micro-attacks from former friend Haley, and learns that her words and deeds have the power to change the injustices around her.

While no form of entertainment can truly replace living in America as a PoC, especially as a Black American, Hate You Give can help gain a deeper understanding of the experiences and emotions of living in today’s society and culture.

‘The Hate U Give’ is currently free to stream on Hulu, or can be rented or purchased on Amazon’s Prime Video platform

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