The Hate U Give

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

So this movie was part of the annual MLK tribute at the University Near Here this past February. As discussed at the time, the title is (allegedly) based on the rap artist Tupac Shakur who had a "THUG LIFE" tattoo, which he alleged was an acronym for "The Hate U Give Little Infants F***s Everything". (The movie spells this out, but not enough times to imperil its PG-13 rating.)

I was encouraged to view the movie thanks to this [NRPlus] review by Kyle Smith.

Anyway: the hero is beautiful African-American high schooler Starr. She is the beloved daughter of a semi-intact middle-class black family, residing in a nice house in the "predominantly black" community. But the local public high school is a horror show, so her parents sacrifice to send her to a good, heavily upper-class white school further away. She self-conciously adopts an alternate "non-ghetto" persona for use while there. And she even has a white boyfriend.

But she also has connections back close to home. So she attends a party where (oh well) gunshots erupt, which causes everyone to chaotically scatter. She's offered a ride home by an old boyfriend who just happens to be a member of the local drug-dealing gang. Who, when they are stopped by a white cop, is not very smart about obeying orders. And when he makes a Sudden Move, he gets shot.

This puts Starr in conflict with both the white culture at her school and the black culture. The local drug lord doesn't want her to testify to the grand jury investigating the shooting (although the reasons for that are unclear). And her best girlfriend thinks the cop was justified in using deadly force.

So: there's a lot of conflict and anguish. Starr's family and acquaintances are well developed, the acting is fine. The overall tone is a little strident. (But is redeemed somewhat when an uncle reminds Starr about the realities of police life.)