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The Hate You Give: Movie v. Book

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“The Hate U Give,” a movie starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman Jr., is a phenomenal drama about a young black teenager who witnesses a police officer murder her childhood friend. The movie is based on the award-winning novel released in 2017 by Angie Thomas. Much like the book, it takes the very current issues of racial profiling and police brutality and attempts to reach an even larger audience to raise awareness about these important topics.

The movie itself was generally good, with a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes Critics score and a 78 percent Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score. The movie is narrated by the main character, a 16-year-old black girl named Starr who lives in a low-income black neighborhood called Garden Heights. The movie’s narration allows the audience to connect with Starr’s thoughts and even though it felt some lines didn’t flow as smoothly as they should’ve, it was a necessary tool in order for the audience to experience the movie at a level closer to experiencing the novel itself.

Starr goes to a primarily white private school where she avoids acting “black” around her peers, friends, and even her boyfriend, a white boy named Chris. Starr compartmentalizes her life in Garden Heights and her school life and attempts to keep these two parts of her life as far apart as possible. This fails when Khalid, her childhood friend, and former crush, is killed by the police right in front of her, leaving her to become a witness in the case.

Starr struggles with the decision to stay silent or seek justice for her friend, and as she makes the decision to speak out for her friends’ sake, she is disgusted and disappointed to discover that even her close friends from school had ignorant views about the incident.

One interesting aspect of Starr’s compartmentalization of her life is her relationship with her boyfriend, Chris. Despite being interested in Chris romantically, Starr keeps him at arm’s length by keeping him a secret from her father and not allowing him to ever pick her up from her home. She also doesn’t tell him what had happened with Khalid, instead choosing to push him away at her time of need. This could be a sign that Starr feels a sense of guilt for liking Chris, especially considering Khalid’s murder.

The movie is similar enough to the book with a couple of differences; there were a few scenes cut out and a new scene added to the movie. This additional scene is definitely pivotal to the plot of the movie, and helps dramatize the theme of the movie to the utmost degree: The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody.

However, some information was mostly cut out of the movie. Starr’s relationship with her uncle, as well as his suspension after angrily fighting the officer upon discovering how he held her at gunpoint until backup arrived, was cut from the movie’s plot. The book was generally better than the movie, but they both complement each other where the other may have been lacking, such as the movie’s additional scene and the book’s portrayal of Starr’s interpersonal relationships. The movie and book are both worth getting into, and if you haven’t read or seen either one, I would recommend you do so right away!

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The Hate You Give: Movie v. Book