“The Hate U Give” is powerful even though the young adult genre holds it back.

Based on the critically bestselling young adult novel by Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) whose world comes crashing down when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer. After receiving pressures from all sides of the community, Starr decides to stand up for what is right.

The Hate U Give is not as strong as recent racially charged dramas, but that does not mean it’s not powerful. Although this is a more simplistic approach to the topic, the film captures the upsetting brutalities facing our country through the eyes of Starr. I think if The Hate U Give took more risks and tried harder to push outside of its teenage roots, it would have been a more impactful story.

However, the cast is incredible and carries the story with moving scenes from Issa Rae’s monologue about violence and brutality or Russell Hornsby’s opening speech about what to do when pulled over by a cop to Amanda Stenberg’s standout speech. Their delivery brings such urgency and emotion into the film.

But really, the true star is none other than Starr herself. Break out sensation, Amanda Stenberg is a phenomenal revelation.

Final Thoughts: Although oversimplified, The Hate U Give is a timely, emotional and important story with an incredible cast performance.

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