Kenae Frazier | Contributing Writer
Courtesy State Street Pictures
This film was said to be a film that would take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and would make you cry. I didn’t shed a tear, and the only emotion I felt throughout the film was annoyance.
It is based on the New York Times Best Selling book with the same name “The Hate U Give,” which is based on deceased popular rapper Tupac Shakur’s T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E tattoo acronym “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”
The film is about Starr (Amandala Stenberg), a young black teenage girl struggling with her identity while living in a predominately black and crime filled area while also attending a predominately white school where she is one of the few black kids. Starr witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend, and now must find her voice when so many people are telling her what to do.
Just a quick summary of the film, Starr witnesses one of her childhood friends Khalil (Algee Smith) get shot in front of her by a police officer. Starr is shaken up by the incident and doesn’t tell anyone how she feels. She lets her emotions get the best of her, which threatens the way she lives her double life.
Starr is being threatened not to say anything about the shooting from her dad’s old drug dealer friend, who Khalil worked for. Starr is forced to change herself and her views in order to get justice for her friend.
Everyone caught up? Cool. Now that was just the gist of the film, at least you guys didn’t have to sit for two hours to figure that out.
But now without further ado, I can tell you why I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped.
Starr was really the most annoying protagonist I have seen in a while. I have never in all my years of watching movies, have I wished death on the character at the end of the movie like I did Starr.
So, let me tell you about Starr. Starr lives a double life where she acts a certain way around white people (her school life) and acts a different way around black people (her personal life).
She has a white boyfriend who so desperately wants to know Starr’s life is outside of school and she doesn’t want him to know because that would mean both of her worlds would merge and everyone would see how fake she really is. What really got me bothered with Starr is that she is the cause of the environment she created for herself.
The reason Starr’s friends, specifically Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter), acts the way they do is because Starr never said anything, she let Hailey’s racist ways go. Also, with her boyfriend Chris (KJ Apa), Starr confronts him on things she knows he hasn’t felt, like being targeted by police and witnessing their friend being killed right in front of them.
Starr KNOWS this. Chris is a suburban raised, he doesn’t know struggle. So, her frustrations with Chris for me were her lashing out because she had so much pent up inside. Another thing was that Amandala fell flat for me as Starr. I was more invested in Maverick (Russell Hornsby), which was her dad. He outshined her throughout the entire movie. I would have not minded if they placed the movie entirely around him instead of Starr.
Amandala really just didn’t do it for me, it felt too forced and unnatural.
One issue that I have with movies based on books, is that they always mess up the voice overs and they add/take out the wrong scenes. For example, the voice-overs helped move the film along, but failed to be there during the most pivotal emotional parts of the film.
Also, scene they could have taken out was the happy ending. It was unnecessary, and it really could have ended at Starr’s speech at City Hall. The ending just felt cheap and there was still no justice for Khalil, who the film was centered around, they could have fired the officers or had someone shoot him, or something.
In conclusion, I am annoyed this movie didn't turn out better than I expected and Starr can shove those Harry Potter wands down her throat, so she never has to speak again.