The Hate U Give
An African-American teen (Amandla Stenberg) leads a double life, being one person in her gritty neighborhood and another at the upscale, white prep school she attends. When her best friend, unarmed, is shot and killed by a white cop, it forces her to rethink her priorities. Based on the novel by Angie Thomas, Audrey Wells’ screenplay strikes a perfect balance between coming-of-age story and social-justice-warrior manifesto, never resorting to slogans, clichés or cardboard characters. Director George Tillman Jr. draws full-dimensional performances from Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall as Stenberg’s parents, Common as her policeman uncle, K.J. Apa as her white boyfriend, Anthony Mackie as the neighborhood drug lord—and most of all, a commanding, star-making performance from Stenberg herself.