Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Hate U Give

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Not recommended under 13 and parental guidance to 15 (mature themes, violence, language, distressing content).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for The Hate U Give
  • a review of The Hate U Give completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 February 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to mature themes, frequent violence, distressing content, and coarse language.
Children aged 13–15 Parental guidance recommended for this age group due to mature themes, frequent violence, distressing content, and coarse language.
Children over the age of 15 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: The Hate U Give
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Mature themes, violence, and coarse language.
Length 133 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Hate U Give is an adaptation of the Angie Thomas novel of the same name. Starr (Amandla Stenberg) is a 16-year-old African American girl from a poor and violent ‘Black’ neighbourhood. She attends a prestigious and mainly ‘white’ private school. Trying to fit in, Starr hides her ‘blackness’ from her schoolfriends, but at home she tries to hide her ‘private school’ identity from her neighbourhood friends.  After leaving a party with her childhood best friend Khalil (Algee Smith), they are pulled over by a police officer.  When the traffic stop turns deadly for Khalil, Starr is forced to watch her friend die.  Whilst trying to come to terms with the horror she has witnessed, Starr becomes more and more desperate to speak out for her friend.  It becomes clear however, that to do so would not only reveal her true self to her schoolfriends, but also put the lives of her family at risk from the violent gang lord King (Anthony Mackie).  As the threats to her family increase, and the racist attitudes of her schoolfriends begin to eat away at her, Starr makes the ultimate stand for justice. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Racism; violence; gang warfare; family; death; justice; civil rights; Death of children/young adults.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Numerous instances in which characters (young and old, male and female) threaten to physically harm (beat up, shoot, etc.) other characters; for reasons ranging from infidelity to snitching.
  • Numerous instances in which characters are physically harmed. For example, beaten up, attacked by police officers, shot, and tear gassed during a riot, etc.
  • A young African American male is shot several times and killed by a police officer.
  • Protestors attack police officers and damage property. This may appear justified to some viewers given the context.
  • Starr aggressively threatens and physically menaces a schoolfriend with a hairbrush to make a point about it not resembling a gun. This is intense but depicted as justified given the girl’s previous racist dialogue.
  • Multiple instances in which gun violence occurs or is threatened.
  • A family’s grocery store is deliberately lit on fire while two teenagers are locked inside.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Multiple sequences in which characters are threatened or hurt by others, including death. Please read below for more details.  

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children of this age will also be disturbed by multiple sequences in which characters are threatened or hurt by others. Please read below for more details.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • A child is accidentally shot and killed during a gang-related shooting. This is told in flashback and is not graphic.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • An African American father explains to his young children what to do if you are stopped by the police when driving, to avoid being shot by a police officer. This scene is distressing and disturbing given the content and the age of the children.
  • A young African American male is shot several times in the chest during a traffic stop by a white police officer. He bleeds out on the ground. This is a very distressing and graphic scene and will likely upset most viewers.
  • Starr is threatened by a gang lord for snitching. She and her family are attacked and hurt on multiple occasions.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Nike: many products including shoes (i.e., Jordan sneakers) and clothing.
  • All Spice cologne.
  • Beats by Dre headphones.
  • Smartphones (including iPhones).
  • Paterson sweatshirt.
  • Lego.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • 16-year-old female describes her older boyfriend producing a condom.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A mother and father kiss and flirt intimately on multiple occasions.
  • Starr and Chris kiss intimately on multiple occasions (including in school).
  • Starr and Khalil kiss.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Many references to both drug-taking and drug dealing. Examples include: ‘molly’,weed, cocaine, and “condom pills”.
  • Heavy drinking at a party. Spirits are shown.

Coarse language

There is frequent and strong coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Fuck
  • Nigger
  • Shit
  • Bitch
  • Ass
  • Ho
  • Damn
  • Piss me off
  • Shut up

In a nutshell

The Hate U Give is a strong and heart-wrenching adaptation of the Angie Thomas novel of the same name.  Focusing on themes of racism and justice, this often-graphic film adeptly explores difficult ideas through strong performances and generally effective story telling.  This film is not recommended for children under 13 due to the strong themes, frequent and graphic violence, coarse language, and distressing content.  Parental guidance is recommended for under 15.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Fighting injustice. Focusing on non-violent means.
  • Loving and supporting one’s family.
  • Being yourself and trusting that true friends will appreciate the real you.

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • The dangers and consequences of parties involving heavy drinking, drug use, and underage drinking.
  • Discriminating between good friendships and those that are toxic.
  • Racism in all its forms, particularly more subtle forms of racism.

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