The movie “The Hate You Give” is taken from the acronym for the term “thug life”, which was used by late rapper Tupac. The movie tells of the emotional journey of a young African American girl, named Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who must balance her two worlds. She lives in a poor, mostly black community with gang violence, drugs and death.
She goes to school with white, privileged students, in a world quite opposite from her home. She has to juggle her two worlds: her guilt of getting away from her depressed neighborhood and the constant challenge of feeling different from her peers in school every day. Her constant balance comes to a halt when she witnesses the death of her best friend, Khalil (Algee Smith), from home who was shot and killed by a police officer. The movie raises the issue of the mistreatment of people of color in today’s society.
One of the reasons this movie is strong, is it takes a difficult topic, relevant to today’s society, and shares it from the point of view of a compelling character. She faces the challenge of watching her friends and their families from her white school stand up for the police officer who shot her friend. They don’t try to understand Khalil and her school friends side with the police by providing reasons for why he shot. She knows that Khalil is a good guy who was stuck in a bad situation as she was witness to the incident.
Student feels this topic is important in our society. “I am going to see this movie because I feel that the story is talking about a very important topic going on in society and as someone who could be affected I think it is important for me to see it,” senior Kayla Hill said.
The movie captures a story that has many real life examples from the rage that exploded in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting of Michael Brown, to the gated community in Sanford, Fla., where Trayvon Martin was killed while walking back from a convenience store.
Another strength of the movie is the complicated and realistic relationships shown throughout. Starr loses her best friend, Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter), who can’t begin to understand or simply empathize with the discrimination that led to Khalil’s death. In contrast, Starr’s boyfriend, Chris (KJ Apa), tries to understand her other world and her role in the shooting. He is the one constant she can lean on between her two worlds. It is not an ordinary teenage relationship, which makes it more interesting. They are challenged by issues way beyond a simple teen romance.
Students found the movie compelling. “I found myself trying to understand how Starr was able to balance her two worlds as she was going through such unimaginable events,” junior Parmida Khajoee said.
Although the movie takes the viewer on an emotional roller coaster, it ends with a sense of hope. Starr finds her voice and realizes that she must stand up for what is right.