The Hate U Give
A teenager straddles two worlds.
“There’s enough story in The Hate U Give to fill three movies, yet I can’t think of a thing I’d cut,” said Stephanie Zacharek in Time. Amandla Stenberg is simply radiant as Starr Carter, a black teenager who must decide where her allegiances lie after witnessing the fatal shooting of a friend by a white cop. As in the hit young-adult novel the movie is based on, Starr lives in a poor urban neighborhood but attends a white prep school, and the code-switching she performs every day could fill a stand-alone film, “probably a pretty good one.” But The Hate U Give “goes far beyond that basic premise.” As Starr tries to decide whether to testify against the shooter, “you can feel Audrey Wells’ screenplay strain to accommodate all the talking points,” said Ty Burr in The Boston Globe. Still, it’d be selling The Hate U Give short to call it the most important movie your teenagers are likely to see this year. The novel, by Angie Thomas, is far better at giving each character depth, said Aisha Harris in The New York Times. But that’s a hazard of a drama focused on cultural relevancy: “If you rely on it too much at the expense of deep characterization, you’ll barely scratch the surface.” ■