The Hate U Give
21st October 2018 2.30pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
21st October 2018 5.30pm at odeontcr: Odeon Tottenham Court Road
George Tillman Jr’s The Hate U Give is a US coming-of-age drama with a radical bite. Think boyfriend problems, cracks in friendships and, of course, prom. And yet the movie pushes itself one step further, with its unflinching portrayal of the relationship vis-à-vis the state and the African-American population in the US. In the wake of Black Lives Matter, and the ongoing horrors of state brutality, trigger-happy cops and institutionalised racism being a part of everyday life for many people across the pond, this film is uncomfortably poignant, and undeniably important. Adapted from Angie Thomas’s 2017 novel of the same name, boasting a great soundtrack and a young, talented cast, The Hate U Give redefines the teen-drama genre, packing a powerful political punch.
Amandla Stenburg shines in her lead performance as Starr, weaving together seamlessly the moments of comedy and the sobering solemnity of the narrative. These dichotomies cleave their way through the story, from being a black girl from a “bad” black neighbourhood attending a rich, WASP-populated school, to the ongoing debate between her parents – portrayed tenderly by Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby – about whether a person should stay where they’re from or get out whilst they can. Difficult questions on the complexities of navigating life as a young black woman are plentiful, but the film never feels overbearing. The points it raises about media manipulation of stories of racial violence, the unwitting (or otherwise) racism of Starr’s middle-class white classmates, the shallowness of sham solidarity and the appropriation of struggle, all make The Hate U Give more quietly intelligent than much young-adult media dares to be. Sometimes the script can come across as awkward and overly sentimental, but never so frequently as to ruin the genuine heartbreak and redemption the movie inspires.
This is a profoundly human film, and despite the subject matter, and the moments of despair, The Hate U Give remains a hopeful, powerful story of growing up and standing up for what’s right, even when the whole world is against you.
The Hate U Give is released nationwide on 22nd October 2018.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for The Hate U Give here: