Parents' Guide to

The Hate U Give

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Powerful, thought-provoking drama about race, activism.

Movie PG-13 2018 172 minutes
The Hate U Give Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 41 parent reviews

age 12+
age 16+

Not for young teens

This movie has such important and timely messages, but it is NOT for early teenagers. I was very uncomfortable with the amount of cursing, the behavior of the characters, and even the negative stereotypes of Black teens depicted. The character of Starr wasn't believable, or I should say, the other characters around her weren't believable, as the movie tried to give the sense that Starr was the only "good" kid in her community. Surely, not every Black teen aside from Starr was carrying on like the ones that surrounded her. To portray them as they were in this movie pushes a harmful narrative that sets race relations back many years. The violence was a lot, but necessary for the plot and the point of the movie. But paired with the aforementioned problems, I wouldn't recommend this for young teens. Maybe people 16 and older. It's unfortunate, because it was a missed opportunity to expose young teens or pre-teens to the issues facing us today.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (41 ):
Kids say (87 ):

Propelled by Stenberg's performance and an excellent cast, this is one of the rare adaptations that does right by its source material, offering a powerful exploration of race, racism, and activism. Working from an adapted screenplay by Audrey Wells, director George Tillman Jr. captures the spirit of Thomas' break-out novel, giving readers and viewers a lot to unpack. The movie opens with Starr's father, Maverick (Russell Hornsby), giving his kids "the talk" -- not about sex but about how to act when they're around police. One of the best aspects of the movie is how supportive and loving the Carter family is: Maverick, who owns the local grocery; mom Lisa (Regina Hall), a nurse at a local clinic; Starr; and her brothers Seven (Lamar Johnson) and Sekani (T.J. Wright) are a tight unit. Starr's beloved uncle Carlos (Common) is a police officer who moved out of Garden Heights, adding layers of complexity to the situation. Rounding out the fabulous cast are Issa Rae as a lawyer/social justice activist and Anthony Mackie as the boss of a Garden Heights gang who has a history with Maverick. There's not a false note among the cast, and Hornsby and Hall are particularly effective as Starr's parents.

So many young adult adaptations fall short of expectations, but this one is up there with The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars. It's an ideal movie to see with teens -- nothing is too cringeworthy for parents to handle while sitting next to their kids -- and then talk about candidly afterward. You can discuss everything from what to do when a party gets dangerous to how to deal with a fair-weather friend to even bigger, more troubling issues of institutional racism, the tension between police and the communities they're charged to serve, and how class and privilege affect the way we see law enforcement and race in America. Because it's so thought-provoking, The Hate U Give isn't the sort of escapist teen flick that helps you get away from the news cycle. This movie, like the book that inspired it, is about more than a police shooting; it's about speaking out against injustice; healing wounds; the importance of family, finding true friends, and uniting communities; and, for parents, supporting kids as they find their voice.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate