The Hate U Give

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

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.

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