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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

Can a movie successfully portray a story such as “The Hate U Give?”

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Slider image by Mirra Goldenberg.

SPOILER ALERT: Plot spoiling information here. Don’t read this if you do not want to spoil “The Hate U Give.”

Most award-winning books have movies produced based on them, but how many of those are successful? In other words, out of those movies, which ones properly portray the book in its entirety?This is difficult to accomplish, but some producers manage to hit the nail on the head when representing a book. The best way to incorporate the entire plot of a book such as “The Hate U Give” is oftentimes debatable, as there are certain parts that are key to telling the story.

Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give” tells the story of Starr Carter, a teenage girl who juggles her life in two different worlds — the poor, predominantly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, predominantly white prep school that she attends. Life as she knew it is suddenly shattered when her childhood best friend Kahlil is shot and killed in the hands of a white police officer. Through this, Starr struggles to find her voice to seek justice for Khalil.

In “The Hate U Give,” Starr rallies support to seek justice for Khalil. Photo by Mirra Goldenberg.

For a story as sensitive and complex as this one, what is okay and not okay to leave out of the movie? Are there parts that can be tweaked to fit a certain length requirement for the film, or will the purpose of the movie be completely changed because of this?

Sometimes changes are made from the print text for the benefit of the viewers/or goers. For example, Starr’s boyfriend Chris goes to school with her and also happens to be white. The movie depicts him as a smaller character than does Thomas’ novel, but what is the overall impact of the difference between the novel and the film? It is possible that the director wants to let Starr and her neighborhood community shine rather than her white boyfriend? The story portrays an act of gun violence later resulting in rallies against it. Chris does not have a huge part in this because it has little to do with him; he attends the rally with Starr and her half-brother Seven in the book, but he leaves the rally in the movie at Starr’s request. Therefore, it was a logical change to make in order for the bigger picture to be seen.

Sometimes the movie deviated from the original book for the benefit of the viewers. Photo by Mirra Goldenberg.

Another small change made is when Starr and Seven prepare Chris to meet their father, and they question him about food. In the book, he is quizzed about green bean casserole, while in the film it is sweet potato pie versus pumpkin pie. They ask him to see if he will fit in with the family, though it is still the merits and properties of mac and cheese that they ultimately disagree on in both the book and the film. These minor changes mainly help appeal to the audience.

Starr’s younger brother Sakani has a crucial role added later in the film that does not exist in the book at all. After Starr’s father, Maverick, saves her and Seven from the their family-run burning grocery store, Maverick takes his anger out on the head of the drug dealing King Lords for setting fire to his store and for trying to hurt his kids. This leads to a fight between them on the street. King manages to get away as the police roll in, but Maverick appears as the aggressor to the arriving police officers, who draw their guns. As the policemen threaten to shoot Maverick and the rest of his family, little Sekani picks up Maverick’s dropped gun and points it at the policemen. For several moments in this climactic scene, it seems as though the police officers are about to shoot Sekani. Ending the tension, Starr fortunately steps in front of him, hands raised, and preaches a message as she does so. She tells the cops that “the hate you give little infants f**ks everybody.” This in turn, refers to Sekani; he has this hate ingrained in him to stand up for himself even at such a young age.

This scene is a great addition to the film because it addresses the title in actuality. “THUG LIFE – the hate you give little infants f**ks everybody,” from a hip hop classic by the late Tupac Shakur.  It provides a realistic example that forces the audience to connect what they are watching to its purpose. Because this title is not clearly explained until reading the book, this scene in the movie clearly unifies the message of the book and movie.

Generally, directors and authors work together in an effort to create movies that resemble the book that is portrayed. Along the way, there can be changes made in order to make the most out of a story. Most of them are attempts to address larger issues that the books neglect to fully mention. In creating these additions to the films, audiences are able to further relate to what is in front of them.

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