I’m late I know. I seen this movie about 3-4 weeks ago and never got around to writing a review BUT…
I coincidentally stumbled across the book The Hate U Give about a month and a half ago and then found out that this was the movie that I had been seeing previews for. Of course movies never play out how they were written in the book but the movie did a good job of getting 70% close.
First off, the book was beautiful, sad but it’s reality. If you’re unaware of the book, here is a synopsis:
The book is about a teenager named Starr. She stays in Garden Heights, a black neighborhood with crime but she goes to a private school 45 minutes away. She has two brothers and is the middle child, her mom is a nurse and her dad is a former felon who owns the neighborhood market. Starr is riding with one of her childhood friends when they get pulled over by the police. The officer kills her friend in front of her and she is the only witness to tell what really happened. In the midst of all this, there’s the neighborhood’s biggest drug dealer, King who is head of the gang King Lords. King is also/was good friends with Starr’s dad and he’s Starr’s best friend,Kenya, dad.
Starr gets the courage to do a TV interview with her face bleeped out and she reveals too much information about “The neighborhood drug dealer” and of course that narrows down to King. How the topic came up was because Khalil’s mother use to work for King and she owed him money and she was supposed to provide for her family (Khalil and his little brother). Since Khalil stayed with his grandmother and she could only do so much, he started selling drugs to provide for his family and help pay his mother’s debt. King wanted revenge for Starr “snitching” even though she didn’t say any names.
In the midst off all this craziness, Starr has to go to school and act like nothing is going on but her white boyfriend (Chris) and friends sense something is wrong. Chris later finds out that she knew Khalil from her TV interview, even though her face was blurred out, he should know his girlfriend’s demeanor right? Starr’s friends found out because they use to attend her old birthday parties that Khalil would go to and her friend stumbled across an old picture of all of them and put the pieces together. Starr was really living two lives, one surrounded by entitled, preppy white kids and the other life surrounded by her people, with a little violence.
After everything is exposed, the verdict comes out and the grand jury decided that they weren’t going to indict the officer; in so many words, he’s innocent. Haven’t we seen that same story so many times. When the announcement is made on the TV, all hell breaks loose in the community. There was peaceful protest Starr finally decided to make her appearance and let it be known that she was the witness. She gave a heartfelt speech, ending it with a chant “His life mattered” before the police started getting aggressive and throwing teargas. The scene was hectic so her, her big brother and boyfriend decided to escape to her Dad’s store to recuperate from all the tear gas. In the midst of all that, “someone” throws a flamed bottle into the store as Starr and everyone else are locked in. Luckily Starr’s dad came in the nick of time to get them out. All arrows are pointed to King because he was at the scene of the crime laughing with his crew, watching the store burn down. This was one of those moment that community came together and told the police who caused the fire, King. The story has a happy ending, including Starr and her family moving out of the neighborhood AND her dad being able to rebuild the shop.
Now, the movie…
The Tramatic Night
On the night of Khalil’s death, Everything went according to the book until Starr and Khalil kissed in his car in the movie. Not to say it didn’t make the scene better, because it did, but just calling out that, that part wasn’t in the book.
In the movie, When the officer pulled them over, Starr instructed Khalil to put his hands on the dashboard because that is what her father taught her, dealing with his past. Khalil was really nonchalant about it of course because as we all think ” I didn’t do anything wrong. Why you pulling me over?” Khalil didn’t listen and then the officer asked him to get out the car. As the officer began to search him, he made some inappropriate comments like “oh you’re trying to score with her tonight” (referencing Starr). All of that was not in the book.
If you read the book, you would know about Devante, but he was nowhere to be found in the movie. If you aren’t familiar, Devante was one of the King Lords who worked directly for King. He was the guy that Starr’s friend Kenya was crushing on and he was the reason Kenya wanted to fight the girl at the party. Starr first officially met Devante at the basketball court with her brother. It was then that she found out that Devante’s brother was the one shot and killed at the party.
As time goes on, Devante comes in Starr’s dad store seeking help. He stole a couple thousand dollars from King and he needed a place to stay and work, so to help him, Mav (Starr’s dad) hired him on at the store and let him stay at they’re house. This escalated when King somehow found out that Mav was hiding Devante. Of course Mav lied to King but in order to protect Devante further, he send Devante to stay with his brother in law, Carlos. From then on Devante was exposed to a safer and better life UNTIL he decides to go see his brother at the cemetery an some of King’s workers spot him and beat him up. Starr, Seven, and Chris find Devante at King’s house, with the help of Kenya since she stays there as well, and they get him out safely. While in the car, that’s when they find out the verdict that the officer who killed Khalil will not be prosecuted. Then the book transitions into the protest that happens in the book.
They Really Did Move…
In the movie, Starr’s family didn’t move, but in the book they did. Matter of fact they moved before the verdict was announced.
At the end of the movie, after Mav gets Starr and Seven out of the burning shop, her mom and little brother show up. As I stated before, King was across the street laughing s the shop burned down and just when they were about to fight, the police showed up. Words were exchanged and then WHOA! The little brother Sekani is holding a gun, pointing it at King. THAT WAS NOT IN THE BOOK and boy did it have my heart beating. Mav had to deescalate the situation and everyone in that moment, even the police, had to self-reflect and come to terms that we need to stop the violence. No one got hurt in the situation this was one of the times that Mav had to fess up and tell the police that King set the shop on fire. He had to protect what was his.
One of the main things that was in the book and movie was that Khalil loved listening to Tupac and in that brief moment that him and Starr reunited, he told her that THUG LIFE really means The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody, hence..The title of the book. That hate you give (teach) your children, they grow up having to life a differently. For example, if a white couple have children and they teach them that black people are worthless and trouble, then those children are going to grow up treating black people without any respect and more importantly stereotyping them, us, ME. On the other hand, if a black couple have children and they teach them that if someone tries to hurt their family, then you must protect the family at all costs, even if it means killing someone, even the police, hence Sekani. Sekani probably felt that his family was in danger so he pointed the gun to protect his family. Luckily he didn’t tho.
Overall, I LOVED the book. The movie was about 70-80% right but it was still good. To add more drama, I wish they would’ve kept Devante in the movie. I loved the message but this is everyday life for Black America; police shooting an unarmed black man and claiming that they feared for their life because they thought the black man had a gun, but it was really a hand brush or a cell phone. Hopefully this movie AND book will send out another message on a deeper level for white america, and even other races who automatically put black men, and black people of that matter, at fault when we are put in situations. We obey, we listen, we respond, but all that doesn’t matter when it’s truly the color of our skins that the police fear.
Also, Rest to the Screenwriter for the film Audrey Wells. She passed away Thursday October 4, a day before the film was released. I know she will be proud of the movie’s success. May she rest in peace!
Tell me what you think of the movie and or book if you seen or read it.
Comment your thoughts below.
Danii Gold out!
featured image credit: colorlines.com