“The Hate U Give” does not sugar coat police brutality

Movie sparks conversation about the realities of being an African-American in current society

Focused on an African American teen as she struggles with her identity, crosses cultural boundaries and faces the loss of a friend to a police officer, “The Hate U Give” shows the realities of systematic racism. In a time where diversity is a hot-button topic, “The Hate U Give” portrays a riveting yet heartbreaking representation of the realities many African Americans face in current society.

This isn’t a relaxing movie by any means; certain scenes may trigger intense emotion or anxiety. These emotions, however, are important. The topics of police brutality and discrimination are never what anyone wants to hear about, let alone to visually observe in a movie. But this film serves as a harsh reminder of what so many African Americans face. Although it is fairly graphic in some scenes, especially when the police brutality is exemplified, I believe that this was a purposeful move by the directors. The topic of police brutality has become so overlooked and generalized that those of us who have never experienced it have no idea what it actually looks like.

As for the cast, Amandla Stenburg (Starr Carter) could not have been more perfectly cast for her role. Known most popularly for her previous roles in The Hunger Games (Rue) and Everything Everything (Maddy), Stenburg is now gaining critical acclaim for her part in this film. She played Starr effortlessly, and although she has less experience than most big-screen actors she showed no on-screen awkwardness and seemed to really connect with the character.

KG Opa (Chris) and Sabrina Carpenter (Hailey) also played well as the characters who are somewhat unaware of their white privilege. However, Carpenter’s portrayal of Hailey seemed awkward, forced and overall like she was trying too hard to portray the “privileged white girl” stereotype. Since her role is (somewhat) significant in exemplifying unintentional racism and privilege, her lack of on-screen comfort made key scenes in the film feel cringe-worthy and disconnected.

Russell Hornsby (Maverick) and Regina Hall (Lisa) could not have been a more perfect selection to fill the roles of Starr’s parents. They showed amazing on-screen chemistry, serving as two characters who are able to lighten the mood while also addressing the larger, more difficult topics (like Starr struggling to find her voice as a witness).

“The Hate U Give” is one of the few movies of its kind where police brutality and the oppression of African Americans in current society is portrayed.

“The Hate U Give” is one of the few movies of its kind where police brutality and the oppression of African Americans in current society is portrayed. What this film delivers is something many people try to ignore, instead choosing to believe that certain oppressions are no longer relevant. It serves as a gruesome reminder, however, that these issues are ever-prevalent in our society.

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