This is a tough one... I really wanted to like this movie, and while I totally support the message and intent of the film, it's just not very good. The story is about a black teenage girl named Starr who is torn between two worlds - her rich, white private school and her poor, black neighborhood - who witnesses the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer. It's more than timely and is utterly, terribly relevant. As such, this is a film that needed to be good, and it's all the more disappointing that it isn't. I wonder if all the positive critical reviews are based more on the importance of the content rather than the quality of the film - in an effort to support the subject of the film, they have overlooked its many flaws. I think the news/opinion website The Root said it best with their article entitled "The Hate U Give isn't a very good movie and it's very hard to say that out loud". The entire movie is preachy and shamefully emotionally manipulative. The actual shooting scene is genuinely tense and emotional and smacks of realism, but everything that happens after that feels as cheeseball as an afterschool special. It's not the fault of the actors, all the performances are solid (especially Amandla Stenberg in the lead role); it's the writing. This movie was adapted from a YA novel, and you feel it every step of the way; the film reduces its charged subject matter into clumsy YA melodrama. I laughed out loud several times... and this is not the kind of movie you want your audience to laugh at. Beyond the melodrama, the movie compartmentalizes incredibly complicated issues, reducing them to basic "black vs white" and "blacklivesmatter" vs "bluelivesmatter" constructs. If only it were that simple! There is no nuance here, and the film's reliance on standard movie tropes and character stereotypes is catastrophic to the film's message. The two environments that Starr has to switch between are extreme ends of opposite poles: her neighborhood is a dingy, drug- and crime-ridden wasteland while her school is a shiny and pristine paradise. Similarly, the white kids at her school are vapid and empty-headed, completely oblivious of current social/racial issues (all while appropriating the hell out of black culture); the cops are racist bigots on power trips (even the black ones); Starr's family and friends from her neighborhood are the good-guy underdogs struggling to rise above their oppression. People just don't fall into such neat, clearly defined categories. I appreciate that this is a rare film that is told from the perspective of black protagonists - we absolutely need more of these movies, but not ones that minimize the complexity of these issues and shoehorn all their characters into unrealistic dichotomies. Most things in life are not so literally black and white, and this movie didn't have to be, either. My fear is that this film does more to divide the races than unite them. This is an important story that needed to be told, but it deserved a better workup than this.