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Hate U Give, The  (DVD)


Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, K J Apa, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Issa Rae, Common, Sabrina Carpenter, Dominique Fishback, Lamar Johnson, Drew Starkey

Director: George Tillman Jr

This is a fine film, with a sensational central performance and a painfully clear message. It does have a few minor faults, but the power of its acting, script and direction makes these easy to forgive.

Starr (Stenberg) is a 16-year-old girl whose Afro-American family has moved home and transferred its three children to a superior (virtually all-white) school to give them the chance of a better life.

Starr has friends at school (Fishback, Carpenter) and a handsome (white) boyfriend (Apa). But he's not around when Starr goes to a local party and meets childhood friend Khalil (Smith), now selling drugs to support a sick grandmother.

Shots ring out and the couple flee the party, but are later stopped by a young cop (Starkey) on the way home. Khalil behaves with improbable foolishness and things quickly get out of hand, though it takes some believing that he would reach into the car for a hairbrush after being warned to stay still: the cop shoots him.

It's the beginning of a nightmare for Starr, as she becomes involved in a grand jury indictment hearing, loses a schoolfriend, watches herself and the family being threatened by the local druglord (Mackie) if she 'snitches to the law - and finally becomes an activist.

Even though she's lighter-skinned and a lot shorter than her screen parents, we should be grateful that Amandla Stenberg won this role. Creating a fully-rounded character, hers is acting of the highest quality, and the film would be poorer without her.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by Company 3.
127 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 13 Feb 2019