Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and s... Read allStarr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.
'The Hate U Give' Cast Will Get Folks Talking
The shooting scene itself was actually a lot less biased than I was expecting. The cop wasn't overtly racist, and his mistake was presuming that the black man he stopped was holding a gun rather than a hairbrush. And when he realised what he had done he acknowledged that he made a mistake. It was more of a subconscious, institutional prejudice rather than him just being a racist.
The black man who was pulled over was also not presented as a flawless, totally innocent man. We know he is a drug dealer. We see him refuse to cooperate at least three times. When the cop tells him to stay with his hands on the car, he instead decides (stupidly) to reach into the car and grab a hairbrush. Because this is totally the time and place to brush your hair.
So to summarise on that point, rather than simply having an innocent teenager being murdered by a racist cop, as so many other films would do, we actually see the teenager get shot due to his own lack of cooperation and idiocy. This I think is a far more realistic and less biased way to present something like this. A black cop explains this explicitly in a later scene, that if the victim had cooperated then this would have been avoided. The same black cop also states that he would have done the same in the same situation, adding that he would not have fired his weapon if the victim had been white. The film cleverly doesn't praise or condemn this, it just is what it is.
There were black cops that were just as bad as the white cops. There were also both black and white cops that were presented as just doing their jobs. Starr's white boyfriend Chris explains why when he sees black people he doesn't see their colour, whereas Starr's father immediately sees Chris as a "white boy". A black cop explains why he would have done the same as the white cop when he shot the black teenager. The film kept catching me out with how it was willing to do the opposite of what I expected. And it made the film infinitely better by presenting multiple sides to a complicated issue, instead of treating its audience like idiots and preaching to the choir.
Now, my problems with the film:
The film literally opens with a black man telling his family how to behave when a cop inevitably pulls them over for no reason. Thankfully, the rest of the film wasn't quite this blunt.
The soundtrack, at least for the first 40 minutes or so, was very distracting. Maybe it is beacuse I don't like or listen to "trap-hop" (if that is the correct name) but I also think it was excessive to have such a huge number of songs in such a short amount of time. Every minute or two they blast another song at you. As I enjoyed most of the rest of the film this is really a nitpick and probably is more down to my music taste than anything.
The subplot with the gangsters was totally unnecessary. The main source of conflict in the second hour could have easily been avoided. Additionally, the gangsters didn't seem to want to kill Starr so much as mildly inconvenience her.
There are some silly arguments between Starr and her white friend that were pretty pointless, especially given how good the other discussions in the film were.
The ending was also very silly and didn't suit the rest of the movie. When dealing with a subject like this, having a happy ending rarely works. This is part of what made American History X so incredibly powerful. In The Hate U Give, the ending felt very artificial, almost like they changed their minds and reshot the last five minutes. __________
And a couple of other things to note:
I found it interesting and, again, unexpected that the film showed how a peaceful protest can easily become violent.
I found it quite brave and, again, unexpected for the film to show Starr being sickened by seeing white teenagers holding Black Lives Matter banners in a protest.
I found it very amusing how the characters get held up in traffic due to a protest.
The characters are consistent. Rather than existing to project the films agenda to the audience, they usually exist to present a certain viewpoint. The film does a very good job of exploring this.
- Nov 28, 2018