Tuesday, October 23, 2018
It may be too soon after seeing this movie for me to write this review. I've only been home from the theater about a half hour and I'm still reeling from it. I am absolutely wrung out. When people say something gave them "all the feels," their talking about something that's done to them what The Hate U Give just did to me.
It's a movie with a teenage lead character and a far amount of the action revolves around Starr Carter's experience at school and with her peers. But The Hate U Give's appeal is far wider than the young adults the book it was based on was aimed at. Amandla Stenberg is incredible as Starr - her face is so amazingly expressive and her skills make you forget she is an actress inhabiting a character; she simply is Starr.
My book club went together - a group of white, middle-age, middle-income women. We would not appear to be the target audience for this movie. But maybe we are. Maybe this movie is a great first step for people who have no concept of what it's like to live in the world with brown skin. The movie opens with Maverick Carter teaching his very children how to act if they are pulled over by the police, something I don't believe it ever occurred to my parents to teach me. Starr and her siblings attend a private school, almost exclusively white. To be accepted there, Starr creates Starr 2, the persona she inhabits when she's in school and around the friends she makes there. The white kids can use black slang; it makes them cool. Starr cannot; it makes her ghetto. When Starr's friend is killed by a policeman, the police and the media want to make the story about the fact that he deals drugs. They don't want to understand that he has been forced into that life by the lack of jobs for a young, black man who needs to be able to support and care for his family. At the end of the movie, one of my friends said, "that really gives you a lot to think about." Yes, it absolutely does.
Beside all of that, this is a movie about family, seeing inside of people, and finding your voice. It can be quiet and intimate, it is often laugh out loud funny, it is sometimes rage filled, and so frequently tense that one of my friends watched toward the end through her fingers. The movie ends with hope. And maybe, if enough people go to see this movie who need to be made to think about these issued, there really will be hope that we can all learn to understand each other better.
Go see this movie. It's an important movie that doesn't get too caught up in its own importance.