Back left
Back right

The Hate U Give Blu-ray Review – True Justice Needs Young Champions

Tragedy challenges a black teen who tries to thrive in two different societies.

Reviewed by on Jan 28, 2019
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the dramatic, socially relevant, teen-driven tale The Hate U Give. Do the story and the performances merit adding this film to your home collection? Now available on Blu-ray & DVD.

By: Lynn Barker

In The Hate U Give, Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is a 16-year-old, African American student from a mostly Black hood attending an all-white private school in another neighborhood. To fit into both worlds, she “code-switches”, talking and behaving either Black or White depending on where she is. When she allows Khalil (Algee Smith), an old friend, to take her home from a party, he is shot and killed by an over-zealous police officer. This launches a series of national events that make Starr question who she is and what she really stands for.

The Hate U Give Trailer

The Talk

Starr, narrating, tells us that when she was small, she and her brother Seven (Lamar Johnson) were lectured by her dad Maverick (Russell Hornsby) on how to behave when confronting a police officer, especially, in a car; hands on the dashboard, don’t talk back, etc. This is a survival tactic. Now 16, Starr is successfully fitting into both her Black neighborhood and her all White private school by behaving and talking differently in each locale. She has a White boyfriend Chris (KJ Apa) who has never seen where she lives.

Starr at school with understanding boyfriend ChrisStarr at school with understanding boyfriend ChrisCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Deadly Party

After attending a party in her home hood, Starr agrees to let old childhood pal and first crush Khalil drive her home. Seems he is doing quite well running drugs for the local gang lord King (Anthony Mackie) which Starr doesn’t approve of. The car is stopped by a White police officer for changing lanes without a signal and his commands irritate Khalil. Starr tries to record the confrontation but the cop makes her put her phone down. Finally, Khalil reaches for a hairbrush inside the car and the cop mistakes this for a gun, shooting and killing the teen. Starr is in shock and an ambulance doesn’t come in time.

Starr reunites with old friend Khalil at the partyStarr reunites with old friend Khalil at the partyCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Khalil's shooting escalates into a major national news story. At first Starr's identity as the witness who will testify in a grand jury trial on whether or not to indict the cop for murder, is kept secret from nearly everyone outside her family. Her two best friends at the private school, Hailey Grant (Sabrina Carpenter), Maya Yang (Megan Lawless), and Starr's boo, Chris, are unaware of Starr's connection to the news story. Starr continues to try to keep her two “lives” separate but it’s getting harder.

Starr flanked by BFFs Maya and Hailey at schoolStarr flanked by BFFs Maya and Hailey at schoolCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Feeling that she should tell Khalil’s side of the story, Starr agrees to appear anonymously on T.V. for an interview after being prompted by civil rights activist/lawyer April Ofrah (Issa Rae). During the interview, she reveals that Khalil was forced by dire home circumstances to work for the King Lords, the gang controlling and running drugs in her hood. The gang, especially leader King, then threatens her and her family forcing them to move to a “better” neighborhood with her uncle Carlos (Common) who is also a cop. Dad Maverick has a King Lord history and took a fall for King, going to jail for him in the past, to get permission to leave the gang.

Dad argues with Starr's uncle while she and mom look onDad argues with Starr's uncle while she and mom look onCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment


Despite Starr’s well-worded testimony, the grand jury fails to indict the officer causing a riot during a protest march to city hall. Starr is forced to take an increasingly public role. Her private school friends and boyfriend Chris learn about the incident. Hailey supports the cop and loses Starr’s friendship while Maya and Chris continue to support her. During the riot, Starr speaks out with a megaphone for justice. She, brother Seven and others have to run and hide in dad’s grocery store but it is fire-bombed by the gang.

Starr speaks out at the march/protestStarr speaks out at the march/protestCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Final Confrontation

Dad and neighborhood friends rescue Starr and Seven but King and gang arrive and a final throw-down between the two men is imminent. Police arrive to stop them and Starr’s little brother Sekani grabs a discarded gun and points it at King.  Will this result in more tragedy? Will Starr continue to keep friend Khalil’s memory alive and become a justice advocate?

Starr considers what to do after Khalil's deathStarr considers what to do after Khalil's deathCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Special Extra Features

  • Extended Scenes –three of them, show a bit more of the riot, Seven’s graduation and Dad and Seven defending their home from the gang.
  • Starting a Conversation features cast and filmmaker interviews revealing personal confrontations with racism etc. Really heartfelt, real and passionate.
  • The Talk is a revelation by cast and filmmakers of the sad fact that all of them have heard “the talk” in their childhoods about how to behave for safety when confronted by a police officer so as not to be a victim of racial profiling etc.  A  happening that those of other races should learn about.

Starr and bro Seven at the private schoolStarr and bro Seven at the private schoolCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Code Switching admits that many of cast and crew have behaved and talked differently when at home and “out in the world” in front of people of other races. Amandla and writer Angie Thomas are especially well-spoken here.
  • Starr: Shine Your Light features novelist Angie again talking about creating the Starr character based on her own life in an all-White school etc. Amandla’s performance is highlighted.
  • The Heart of Georgia and Thank You Georgia are two featurettes focusing on the shoot in the state of Georgia, locations picked and fun cast and crew had in Atlanta and elsewhere.
  • Audio Commentary by Director George Tillman Jr. Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas and Craig Haynes is interesting and lively as they pop in discussing making the film, the themes addressed etc.

Wrapping Up

The Hate U Give is an amazing film that everyone should see!!  Teens, especially will get into the story and Amandla’s performance is riveting and heart-breaking.  She should have been nominated for an Oscar for her impressive work as Starr. Is the movie sad? Sure but it has moments of humor and family unity that are heart-warming. It is also so true to life in our current racially-imbalanced world. In some way, you can relate.

After the riot, Starr prevents more violenceAfter the riot, Starr prevents more violenceCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Extras are personal and address subjects that non-Black audiences might never have been aware of. The film and extras offer more knowledge and understanding that should spark some real-life conversations about equal treatment for all people and more. The movie looks and sounds great as well. We can see nothing negative so award a full five stars. 

The Hate U Give Blu-ray Rating: 5

The Hate U Give Blu-ray CoverThe Hate U Give Blu-ray CoverCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Hate U Give is available in stores now!

What Do You Think?

Have you been a victim of racial injustice or know someone who has? Are you an Amandla Stenberg fan since she was in The Hunger Games? Are you ready to speak up for equality for all races? This is a hot-button subject. Comment below and on your Kidzworld profile page!