The Hate U Give
Cert 12A; Now Showing
The late rapper Tupac Shakur had a tattoo, THUG LIFE which he explained was an acronym, The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody. And this is behind the title of a film about racism in America. A film based on a young adult novel by Angie Thomas that is so well-delivered and acted that it reaches beyond borders or markets, it’s just a great film for all kinds of audiences.
Sixteen-year-old Starr (Amandla Stenberg) lives in the largely black and poor neighbourhood of Garden Heights. There is a local drug lord, King (Anthony Mackie) for whom her now reformed father (Russell Hornsby) used to work. Her mother (Regina Hall) wants something very different for her children, so she sends them to a predominantly white, middle class school in a different area. Starr learns to present two versions of herself, the one she is supposed to be in her neighbourhood, and the one she is needs to be in school. No one is overtly racist, indeed her white classmates pride themselves on not seeing colour, on even being down with black culture and therein lies most of the problem. That’s until Starr is the only witness when her unarmed friend Khalil (Algee Smith) is shot by a panicky white cop and has to decide which Starr she is. There are no simple morals, every aspect and nuance is explained, but it manages to remain engaging throughout its long run time. The cast is great, but Stenberg really shines. And Tupac’s tattoo feels more relevant than ever.