Kristen Dragotto, Staff Writer

“The Hate U Give” has been one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2018. This movie is an adaption of Angie Thomas’s debut novel. With Audrey Wells as screenwriter and George Tillman Jr as director, it was bound to be good and it did not disappoint.

The movie followed the story of a sixteen-year-old girl name Starr, played by Amanda Stenberg, who lived in Garden Heights and attended an all-white private school. Starr’s life was illustrated by the struggle she faced in being torn between the two worlds she inhabited. These worlds collided when she witnessed her childhood friend Khalil, played by Algee Smith, being shot and killed by a police officer, played by Drew Starkey, who was known as 115. In the aftermath of Khalil’s death, we see the lengths Starr was willing to go to not only to find justice for Khalil but also for those around her.

The movie did a great job of following the book’s storyline; this was a pleasant surprise because in most cases the movie differs greatly from the book. Wells did a miraculous job keeping the key aspects from the book in the film. The depiction of the racial struggles Starr and her community face and realistic portrayal of Khalil’s death were truly eye opening.

For most members of the St. Louis community, the news coverage seen in the film as well as the protests and rioting would be a reminder of what took place here in our own backyard with the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. The realistic portrayal is almost haunting for the audience as they remember this is not just a movie they are watching but real life. This movie was not made to make the audience feel sad but rather spark the fire to cause change.

The movie presented the side of the conversation to which people have turned a deaf ear. Variety author Owen Gleiberman wrote, “The film is based on a young-adult novel by Angie Thomas and excuse my prejudice if I confess that I don’t tend to go to YA movies to have my mind opened up about America’s racial complexities. Yet “The Hate U Give,” as directed by George Tillman Jr., from a script by Wells, who died, after a battle with cancer, the day before the film was released, [it is] the rare racial drama that will detonate the complacency of even those who are drawn to see it. It’s that good, that searching, that fierce in its humanity.”

However, author Ann-Derrick Gaillot from Thrillist said it best when she wrote, “While the film simplifies the story somewhat, it never loses its heart, the brilliant emerging of Starr into her own voice and pride in the community that lifts her up.” I would have to completely agree with Gaillot, the film is an abridged version of the story with slight variations. It is more than capable of leaving its audience with the same feeling the book did, presenting the plea for justice from the Black Lives Matter movement.

This film was Well’s last work of art. It accomplished her personal goal of giving those who are marginalized a voice and making sure that it is heard. I would highly recommend catching this movie before it leaves theaters. Allow yourself to be a part of the long overdue conversation and help spark the change this movie sought out to bring.