This week on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and director George Tillman, Jr. is a story of duality when dealing with “The Hate U Give.”
Living in Garden Heights, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) lives with her father Maverick (Russell Hornsby), mother Lisa (Regina Hall) and brothers Seven (Lamar Johnson) and Sekani (TJ Wright). Maverick owns a local grocery story while Lisa is a nurse so that both incomes can send their children to a school outside the neighborhood at Williamson Prep.
Starr enjoys her friends Hailey (Sabrina Carpenter) and Maya (Megan Lawless) and is especially happy with boyfriend Chris (KJ Apa). She admits it’s like living in two different worlds but manages with both. When friend Kenya (Dominique Fishback) convinces Starr to go to a local party, she runs into friend Khalil (Algee Smith). Their party time is brief when a fight breaks out and there is gunfire.
Getting her safely away, Khalil and Starr talk about their childhood memories when a police officer pulls them over. Starr tells Khalil to do what he is told and keep his hands where they officer can see them. Questioning the officer and not doing what is asked, Khalil finds himself at uncomfortable odds with the officer. Outside the car it all happens so quickly as Khalil is shot.
Starr’s parents try to protect their daughter when the police question her but it’s all stopped when her Uncle Carlos (Common). She sees him as an important person in her life when Maverick spent a little time in prison. Also threatening her is King Lords (Anthony Mackie), a drug dealer who wants her to keep her mouth shut about the incident.
Learning that the police officer is to go before a grand jury, it becomes clear that Starr might not be able to hide her anonymity. A few people in Garden Heights know it was she in the car with Khalil that night but Starr has to hide it from those she knows as Williamson Prep. The confrontations are coming from all sides for Starr as she realizes that she must either remain silent or let the truth be known.
When a protest breaks out, Starr must make a stand and hope they all hear!
Stenberg as Starr is a young girl who was raised in the way of surviving Garden Heights while also fitting into a school she is sent to for her own protection. Jumping in between both situations, Starr has become fluent in gliding between the two. That is until Khalil is killed and she is stuck between the worlds that she maneuvered with ease just hours before. Stenberg gives a performance that is believable and solid
Hornsby as Maverick is a man with a past but it isn’t the past one might think. After meeting his wife, Mav became a family man who believes in protecting his family by making them aware of what goes on in the world. When it all comes to their front porch, there is nothing he won’t do for his family – nothing. Hall as Lisa is equally protective of her family and thinks its time to leave Garden Heights, especially when Khalil is killed and her daughter is in danger.
Smith as Khalil has a small role but an important one as what happens to him is indicative of what is happening a lot in the United States. Johnson as Seven is a young man also torn between two families but doesn’t hesitate to support his sister Starr. Wright as Sekani is a young boy who is witness to it all and makes a move that shocks everyone.
Common as Uncle Carlos is a man who is seeing the world from the view of the police and even when he tries to explain it to Starr, it doesn’t come off well. Mackie as King Lords the local kingpin is a rough man who knows where he comes from but isn’t going to change where the money is.
Other cast include Issa Rae as April Ofrah, Tony Vaughn as Mr. Lewis, Rhonda Dents as Miss Rosalie, Marcia Wright as Tammy, Al Mitchell as Mr. Reuben, Javon Johnson as Pastor Eldridge, Kurt Yue as John, Andrene Ward-Hammond as Brenda.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Blu-ray, and digital HD. Their amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have go to www.fox.com.
The Blu-ray and DVD special features include “Extended Scenes,” “Starting a Conversation,” “The Talk,” “Code Switching,” “Starr: Shine Your Light,” “The Heart of Georgia,” “Thank U Georgia,” “Audio Commentary by George Tillman, Jr., Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas and Craig Hayes” and “Gallery.”
Also included is Movies Anywhere, which allow movies with digital codes to be viewed with the Movies Anywhere app for download and streaming.
The film is based on the book by Angie Thomas “The Hate U Give” which was turned into a screenplay by Audrey Wells. “The Hate U Give” premiered in 2018 at the Toronto Film Festival and had wide release only a month later.
The film has received awards from the African-American Film Critics Association, the American Film Festival, the Hampton International Film Festival, Hollywood Film Awards, Indiana Film Journalists Association, Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society, Mill Valley Film Festival and Philadelphia Film Critics Circle Awards.
“The Hate U Give” takes on the tough issues and the response from both sides whether good or bad. This film is a conversation starter and I wouldn’t hesitate to show it in classrooms everywhere as a teachable moment. Just as Maverick teaches his children early, we all must teach our children early but for reasons not based in fear but mutual respect.
In the end – two worlds and one voice!