THUG-LIFE (The Hate U Give- Little Infants F*** Everybody).
The newest cinematic #BlackLivesMatter piece brings out that clear message for today’s ungenerous Americans who bottle up pride. Even now in 2018, if a young Black boy is bullied for being gay, the media cares less about his predicament than about how cute Emma Stone looks with Ryan Gosling; not anymore though, at least within the perspective of society’s true xenophobia by director George Tillman Jr. After The Hate U Give’s protagonist, Starr, sees her childhood friend get killed by a cop, it’s revealed how not just White people, but others like Starr’s father and cop uncle, are xenophobic.
Hate does not describe my viewing experience of The Hate U Give, for far too many things are done right. It starts with the sincere direction that triggers inner division whenever Starr speaks with her White boyfriend, Chris. Tillman Jr. also initiates fear as he stages the pivotal cop scene without showing the officer’s face, especially with the content of the opening scene fresh in your head. These moments carry far more credibility than other buddy cop comedies that merely resort to a lazy visual difference between two leads to call it a racial allegory (I’m looking at you, Bright).
Unbelievably, you forget that White people back in the early half of the 20th century refused physical contact with objects that Black people had touched, which still influences people now, even Starr’s White girlfriend who denies her discriminatory behavior. It’s just like how high schoolers in real life are still in the process of figuring out who their real friends are, a change forced onto Starr by a powerful motivational dad speech on the grass to remind her of what spite really means. Although a smaller cast in The Hate U Give would have allowed greater focus on Starr’s thought process, as unnecessary narrational exposition about these characters is abused to the point where they become nothing beyond words on a page.
Give The Hate U Give a good watch however, then the neighborhood’s violent, originally peaceful, “Just Us for Justice” protest will assault the senses despite the mediocre characterizations. It turns especially effective because every individual actor marks clear motivations, especially the transparent Russell Hornsby (Fences) who holds the whole production together. The confused emotions pop up within the White characters too, as Chris’s peers accuse him of behaving Black, yet he misunderstands what Blackness really means. It’s the same level of detailing cultural relationships achieved in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Little do I realize that The Hate U Give was speaking to me about my own prejudice I admit being guilty of. Here’s how: Before high school, I seldom saw differences between Black, Yellow, Red, Brown, White, or anything between. High school was when other non-Whites became the butt of jokes around my peers, until growing up made me realize how unacceptable it was. Now, I’ve been very, very conscious about my treatment of other Black people—even mentally tracking the times I physically touched one, thinking, “well, clearly, I’m not racist!” Except that thought process is racist, since it’s a special treatment that gives one specific attention because of their difference. Think of it in the way one with autism, such as myself, wants to be accepted like anyone else.
Infants could call The Hate U Give flawless for this rare awareness that is difficult for a strong film to achieve, but like mentioned in paragraph 3, deeper analysis proves some flaws; an unnecessary flashback takes away the present-day conflict, accompanied by basic, overly sentimental music mixed in with complementary rap music. The jarring transitions by the editing inhibit focus on the implied Christian faith of Starr’s family, which needed to take center stage in an otherwise powerful depiction of the truth.
Fork left in the road that is this film reel’s sidewalk, you must decide for yourself how to think after hearing some uncomfortable interpretations from The Hate U Give, such as Starr’s dad accusing Harry Potter of being a gang metaphor (kids separated by color to practice self-defense). In that same way, Starr’s life leans between the blue Catholic school (White world) and the orange neighborhood (Black world), two worlds colliding in an awkward moment when Dad meets Chris for the first time. It’s all a study of what really happens from the twinkling gaze of a teenager who watches a climax she can’t stop watching.
Everybody makes mistakes that leave chaotic consequences; a prejudiced police officer shoots a man who may have shared blame by disrespecting the officer, which set off a chain of reactions on both sides that prove how hate has driven the United States down its own counterproductive hell hole. Being someone who knows what discrimination feels like, as one with autism, I can say now that The Hate U Give proudly affirms that we can redeem ourselves by simply offering our best love to all.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Doss, Erika. “Amandla Stenberg stars in THE HATE U GIVE.” Digital image. TIME. 20th Century Fox, 5 Oct 2018. Web. <http://time.com/5417038/the-hate-u-give-movie-review/>.
The Hate U Give. 20th Century Fox. Web. <https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-hate-u-give>.