‘The Hate U Give’ should be seen by every­one

Medicine Hat News - - ENTERTAINMENT -

un­til the night when she wit­nesses her child­hood best friend, Khalil (Al­gee Smith), get shot by a white po­lice of­fi­cer at a traf­fic stop.

It’s a scene made only more dev­as­tat­ing by how sweet ev­ery­thing is right be­fore it hap­pens. Starr and Khalil run into each other at a party that gets bro­ken up and he of­fers to drive her home. He’s a lit­tle changed, sport­ing some fancy new clothes and shoes, as he’s started work­ing for a lo­cal drug lord, King (An­thony Mackie), to help sup­port his fam­ily and pricey med­i­cal bills. The two high school­ers talk about mu­sic, and flirt and Khalil leans in to kiss Starr. On its own, this se­quence is straight out of the best high school rom-coms, be­fore it turns into a hor­ror film.

Khalil’s killing be­comes a na­tional story and Starr is torn about what to do. Tes­tify? Go pub­lic? Put her name out there? Not only would she be ex­pos­ing her­self to her school pals, but back at home King and his co­horts have threat­ened her fam­ily, fear­ing that she would put their op­er­a­tion in jeop­ardy, too. This de­bate leads to some fas­ci­nat­ing con­ver­sa­tions — il­lu­mi­nat­ing and dis­heart­en­ing — be­tween var­i­ous peo­ple, in­clud­ing her un­cle Car­los (Com­mon), who is also a po­lice of­fi­cer, and a fiery ac­tivist, April (Issa Rae). But the most mov­ing talks are the ones with her fam­ily.

For as nat­u­ral­is­tic and real as”The Hate U Give” is, it goes off the rails just a lit­tle bit at the cli­max to make its grand point about the ef­fect of this kind of cli­mate on in­no­cents, but there is too much heart here to re­ally nit­pick at a lit­tle hy­per­bole.

If there is any jus­tice in Hol­ly­wood, this is the type of film that should make Sten­berg a movie star who has her pick of projects. She’s the type of ac­tress who can even make a role in a bad film sing. And in a very good one like”The Hate U Give”? She’s just magic.

“The Hate U Give,” a 20th Cen­tury Fox re­lease, is rated PG-13 by the Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica for”ma­ture the­matic el­e­ments, some vi­o­lent con­tent, drug ma­te­rial and lan­guage.” Run­ning time: 132 min­utes.

Three and a half stars out of four.

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