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The Hate You Give Review - Four Stars, Cast Delivers Tour de Force Performance

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The Hate You Give, from Fox 2000 Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, presents a story plaguing cities across America, an unarmed black male is shot and killed by a white cop as his best friend watches him die.

Directed by George Tillman, Jr., The Hate You Give stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Common, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, K.J. Apa, Lamar Johnson, TJ Wright, Megan Lawless, Dominique Fishback, Rhonda Johnson Dents, Tony Vaughn and Drew Starkey. The Hate You Give was written by Audrey Wells, based on the book of the same name by Angie Thomas.

The film begins with Maverick Carter, played by Russell Hornsby and Lisa Carter, played by Regina Hall sitting at the dining room table with their three young children, Starr played at this age by Kai Ture, Seven, played at this age by Hassen Welch and Sekani, payed by TJ Wright explaining what could happen if they are stopped by a police officer.

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He explains they shouldn't assume he did anything wrong and that when he puts his hands on the dash it isn't a sign of weakness. For a black man in America to escape a random traffic stop he has to comply.

The film then moves ahead eight years and Starr, now played by Amandla Stenberg, and her half-brother Seven, played by Lamar Johnson, are preparing for school. We hear in voice over by Starr, who explains about her neighborhood and how her mom wants to move and her dad says they have everything they need right here.

The family is close, and by sending Starr and Seven to the white private school, we also find out that Starr considers herself a traitor to herself by playing to the crowd. Her two best friends, Hailey, played by Sabrina Carpenter and Maya, played by Megan Lawless believe they know her and she is really just like them. And her boyfriend, Chris, played by K.J. Apa, who sees her without filters and one of the few who don't see race as a factor in love.

Like most inner city neighborhoods, even those on the border of posh, the plagues of drugs and now guns are very real, killing thousands every day and leaving the rest wounded or the walking dead. This, we see separates the Carter family, as Maverick, who did time in exchange for silence and his brother King, played by Anthony Mackie, the leader of the ruling street gang, are forever estranged for the choices they made.

On Friday nights, we find out, Starr hangs out in her neighborhood and she and her cousin, Kenya, played by Dominque Fishback, are headed to a house party. Holding up the wall, Starr sees her childhood friend, Khalil, as we hear in voiceover, played by Algee Smith.

The crush of people, black rage, the last word syndrome, alcohol, an escalation of words, a step on the wrong sneaker or misinterpretation causes a fight to break out and when it does, to prove superiority bullets fly.

With the pop, pop, pop, everyone runs Starr and Khalil jump into his car and, as old friends do, catch up, talking about nothing, everything, important things, life, tomorrows, yesterdays, memorable moments. Sealing in his mind the plans for tomorrows, he starts the car and within minutes he is pulled over.

This is where The Hate You Give becomes an agonizing and affecting reflection on society in America today.

The cast of The Hate You Give present a masterfull performance as a family on the edge of two lives, one brother a drug lord living in the hood, a cousin, Carlos, a cop, played by Common living in the suburbs, and the Carter family living in between.

Life doesn't allow us to live on the edge for long and soon, like we see in this film, those who never wanted to voice an opinion were forced to stand up.

The Hate You Give is timely, taken right from the most volatile headlines, with the second act filled with the elements of Ferguson, of the Los Angeles riots, of Staten Island, when injustice was so stifling, it choked and caused even the most jaded to whisper "I can't breathe" the words of Eric Garner, as we tried to make sense of the senseless.

The film presents so much more than fiction as we all know. The driven attempts by parents to be examples to their children, to ensure they are informed and well positioned in life, to hopefully present alternatives by example to the illusions of street riches is clearly portrayed.

The entire cast, Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Common, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Issa Rae, TJ Wright, Drew Starkey, Sabrina Carter, and Megan Lawless, build this story with such genuine authenticity. It is poignant, real, timely and shocking.

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For Ms. Hall, whom most see as a comedic actress, The Hate You Give is a dramatic turn and one that ups her game as she captures the role convincingly.

The Hate You Give is an impressive, four star, tour de force film. The message, gripping and riveting and as heartrending as it is when reality rears its blinded eyes and the hope of justice is murdered also.

The Hate You Give opens in select cities October 5, 2018 and in theaters everywhere October 19, 2018. See this film.


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