The Hate U Give: Movie Review
***This review has spoilers: Proceed with caution***
Let's Start Here: The Book vs. The Movie
I’m going to be real with you: you will not be disappointed. Yes, there are many book-to-movie adaptations gone wrong. They will leave you confused and heartbroken.
This movie is not one of them.
Obviously, no movie can keep EVERYTHING from the book because, well, we would be there for 6 hours (not that I’d mind). However, I believe they did a great job with knowing what to cut, and new scenes staying in line with the overall focus of the book.
Kudos to you, George Tillman, Jr.
This Movie is NOT Trauma Porn
And it could have easily been. One thing I noted was the “quiet storm” that was King (why, Falcon, WHY!!). We didn’t need to see him beating the almighty hell out of Seven to know that this dude was fucking it up for anyone who crossed him. You didn’t even need to read the book to know that he definitely beat Seven’s mom after they left.
There are MANY scenes that could have been shot just for shock value, and I’m so grateful that they went for realism instead. Don’t get me wrong, you will need several boxes of tissues. But it’s not set out to shock, disturb, or disgust you. It’s set out to tell the real-life experiences that Black people face every day.
Maverick Carter is the Father We All Need In Our Lives
Russell Hornsby did a stellar job as Big Mav. I’m thinking this is going to be a separate blog post, but if you can gain anything from Big Mav, its never judge a book by its cover.
He entered donned in tattoos (no teardrops, however) and a past that involved gangs, drugs, and imprisonment. This man was the glue that held his family together. Some things to note about him:
- In his most stressful moment, when the cops pushed him up against the glass, he never once screamed at his family
- He encouraged Starr to “let it out” and used his traumatic experiences to give her just what she needed
- He was always kind and affectionate to their mother, even when they disagreed
Think you can say that about King?
How about Bill Cosby? (Don’t start, Quinzel)
I Definitely Wanted To Go 'Elevator Solange' on Hailey
I can guarantee that every black girl has gone through that level of gaslighting with a white friend. And usually confronting them on their bullshit, ends with them in tears, so you end up comforting them.
I was worried about seeing Hailey onscreen because the book version made me SOOOO angry. I read the whole "pretend like it's a piece of fried chicken, Starr" part as really aggressive. But in the movie, she had that clueless look on her face that's all too familiar. That look where you ALMOST believed that she really didn't mean any of what she said. However, both in the book and the movie, there were plenty of hints that Hailey knew exactly what she was doing, she was just really great at deflecting.
And you know what? I liked that! It gave the audience a chance to understand Starr's frustration. I also appreciate the realness of them never making up. Same as the book, but seeing it on screen was great because there are just some people who aren't gonna get it and you really do have to just move on.
Again, more realness than I expected to see onscreen. More kudos
Sekani, Your Name Means Joy
I want you to take a close look at this picture. Look really hard at the young boy. And I want you to ask yourself one question.
Could you kill him?
From the start of this movie, you can clearly see why his name means joy. His bright smile and high pitched laugh were enough to make your heart melt. Watching the scene with Mav and the cops is even more painful with seeing Sekani crying. Your heart will break for this sweet little boy.
The ending, while it didn't occur in the book, was arguably the most important scene in the movie. It brings full circle to The Hate U Give and what it means. Literal gasps filled the theater as Sekani pointed the gun and said: "get away from my daddy!"
In a flash, we could see what happens next, the cops kill this poor little boy before a bullet even leaves the gun. A mother watches her son's last breath. And the news doesn't depict anything about him that we already know. They won't discuss his smile, his laughter, the fact that he still can't aim in the toilet. People will shake their heads in judgment thinking nothing of a seven-year-old's death and criticize him for holding a gun in the first place. In those short moments, the audience all saw this happening. I could even hear sobs from a rush of tears. Thankfully, Starr shielded him and none of that happened.
But my mind immediately went to Tamir Rice. That baby is no longer here.
When tragedy strikes, people deflect any way they can, often making the victim as less human as they can. So if you watched that scene and cried, you need to know that none of this is really fiction.
Don't even get me started on Lyric. If you read the book, you can understand that that poor baby saw A LOT of fucked up stuff. And what about her? How will the hate that she's given fuck everybody? That's what The Hate U Give is all about.
Angie Thomas wrote the book that inspired this movie. She used her voice and it's already making a huge impact.
How will you use your voice?