Didn’t manage to see this at the cinema so only just caught up with it.
I don’t pretend to know the world this film is set in however, the fact that this story has any ring of truth to it at all is saddening (and it feels safe to say, it has more than a ring of truth to it).
Reading the background to the film, based on a young adult novel by Angie Thomas, perhaps explains some of its less balanced elements.
The story is a complex one and while the complexity is well realised, especially in the central performances of Amandla Stenberg as Starr and Russel Hornsby as her father, who is in a constant battle to find a way to teach his kids the delicate balance between embracing their heritage while realising it is also seen as a threat to some, it does occasionally slip into over simplification, making it feel a little tonally unbalanced.
But that said, while it’s not perfect, the central story is so powerful its easy to forgive those slips, Stenberg captures Starrs struggles brilliantly, drawing you in to her internal challenge to decide on what’s right for her, her friends, future and community.
It is also not afraid to ask questions about why Starrs community is seen as it is and how the community itself can perpetuate dangerous misconceptions.
A film that doesn’t always quite work, still presents a powerful and complex story, not a film made to “enjoy” but one to watch and appreciate that as difficult as it is to comprehend, the story does portray a very real problem and for that is well worth the watch.