Llanelli Star - - Film Reviews -

TAK­ING its ti­tle from the mes­sage inked into rap­per Tu­pac Shakur’s ‘THUG LIFE’ tat­too, Ge­orge Till­man Jr’s emo­tion­ally charged drama rages against racial di­vi­sion and po­lice vi­o­lence in Amer­ica. The Hate U Give is sen­si­tively adapted by Au­drey Wells from Angie Thomas’s young adult novel, which chron­i­cles the an­guished rites of pas­sage of a teenager, who finds her voice in the most tragic cir­cum­stances.

Amandla Sten­berg, as Starr Carter, de­liv­ers a gut-wrench­ing lead per­for­mance, and zigzags un­com­fort­ably be­tween worlds of white priv­i­lege and black in­dig­na­tion. She lives in Gar­den Heights, Ge­or­gia, with ex-con fa­ther Mav­er­ick (Rus­sell Hornsby), who turned his back on lo­cal drug dealer King (An­thony Mackie) to raise a fam­ily with wife Lisa (Regina Hall). Their brood in­cludes Starr’s half-brother Seven and younger brother Sekani. To en­sure her ba­bies have a brighter fu­ture, Lisa sends the chil­dren to the pre­dom­i­nantly white Wil­liamson Prep). The teenage hero­ine keeps the two sides of her ex­is­tence sep­a­rate un­til she wit­nesses a white po­lice of­fi­cer shoot her un­armed child­hood friend, Khalil (Al­gee Smith) dead.

Racked with grief, Starr shoul­ders a heavy bur­den to speak up for the de­ceased. How­ever tes­ti­fy­ing against a cop could lead to reprisals.

The Hate U Give doesn’t project Starr’s jour­ney of em­pow­er­ment through a rose-tinted lens. Till­man Jr’s film rip­ples with fury and de­spair but an un­der­cur­rent of hope cour­ses through ev­ery hand­some frame.

Amandla Sten­berg as Starr Carter

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