LFF Preview - The Hate U Give
Dir: George Tillman Jr
Starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Russell Hornsby, Issa Raye, Common
Although there are moments when you could be mistaken for thinking this movie is one long advert for Nike (there are many logos on display and shoes under discussion), The Hate U Give (named for a Tupac lyric and adapted from the successful YA novel by Angie Thomas) is a remarkable, moving film, with a strong sense of urgency. And a towering central performance.
Starr is a black teenage girl who has two versions of herself – one for her low-income black community where she can afford to be black, and the other for her private school where she can’t. Indeed, her predominantly white fellow students often attempt to be more black than her – something that at first is often very funny but which, as events escalate, only serves to show the wide division in Starr’s world(s).
Essentially this is the story of the politicisation of a young woman, coming to terms with the racial issues and inequalities of modern day America, something that is set into motion by Starr witnessing her childhood friend being shot dead by a white cop, and the fall out that ensues through both worlds of her school and her own community.
As Starr, Stenberg gives what cam only be termed a star-making performance – expressive, adaptable, heartfelt and ultimately defiantly emotional. She is very simply superb and will win your heart and demand your attention for future appearance from this gifted actress.
Director Tillman Jr knows full well the strength of his film lies in this remarkable central performance, but also takes time to build the simmering violence that boils up throughout his movie, erupting into full-on riot in the final act.
It’s is a timely film, a moving film, a film that rightly engenders indignation and anger. But it is also, more than anything, a well balanced film, fuelled by #BlackLivesMatter and Stenberg’s amazing work.
The Hate U Give plays the LFF on 20 & 21 October
More info @ www.bfi.org.uk/lff
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