The Hate U Give: An Interesting Perspective on Police Brutality


Dylan Naatjes, Staff Writer

The Hate U Give, a movie directed by George Tillman, Jr., based on #1 New York Times bestseller book by Angie Thomas, gives an interesting perspective on police brutality, a highly controversial topic. It comes from the point of view of Starr Carter, a black girl who lives in the ghetto, but goes to a nice private high school to further her education. She finds herself in a position where she doesn’t fully belong in either group. One night, at a party, she meets one of her childhood best friends, Khalil. As he brings her home, he’s pulled over by a police officer, and, after a confrontational exchange with the officer, is ultimately shot without warning when the cop mistook his hairbrush for a gun.

I think that the movie does a really good job of showing Starr’s progression in character through the movie. She starts off unsure and self conscious about how she’s perceived. As the movie progresses, however, she becomes more self asserted and gains more confidence in standing for what she thinks is best and right. It was interesting to see the way the community responded after Khalil’s death. At his funeral, many protested for justice for his death, and the impact of this experience on Starr was huge in her growth. It inspired her to testify what she saw to a grand jury, and eventually to go public with her message against the police brutality she witnessed. I also enjoyed many other aspects of the movie including the underlying threat of the gangs of Starr’s hometown as well as her mom and dad’s different influences on her and her siblings. The relationship the family has with one another is what really makes the movie come alive and makes the characters feel real.

Of all, what I thought was the best part of the movie was the underlying story of the gang influence in her town. Starr’s dad’s perspective is most interesting of all. He explains to his daughter that, in the situation that they live in, there aren’t a lot of real jobs available, so many people think that, with the money that could be made selling drugs, that the way out of their problems was to become a drug dealer, but it really just feeds into a cycle that only continues to hurt them. It’s also revealed that Khalil dealt drugs in order to help his mom who was dying with cancer because there was no other way to make enough money to pay bills with his dad gone. The media in the movie wrote him off and referred to him as a drug dealer without focusing on any of the other aspects of his life, which I felt to be impactful because it’s so easy to dismiss someone because of one significant bad choice they make, never looking at anything else. Before finally opening his convenience store to get out of the gang life, Starr’s dad was also a part of the large gang that ran the ghetto they lived in. When he talked about his experience and how he decided to get out of the life, it felt real, and it was an amazing insight into the mindset of what happened.

That being said, I did take issue with a few things in the film. I thought that the portrayal of police officers was very one sided. It felt as though the entire police force in general was painted as bad through the movie which I didn’t feel was fair. I also think that having the police officer come back and talk with Starr face to face and own up to what he did or give his take on what happened to her specifically could’ve added depth to his character or even give a chance to show his character improve.

All in all, I thought it was an interesting and a pretty insightful movie, though I think that it could’ve been improved and depth could’ve been added, especially in the portrayal of the opposing argument.