Increasingly, teen dramas are veering away from lighter comedy and romantic fare and beginning to touch on more complex and mature themes and ideas. Recent films like The Fault In Our Stars and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower have tackled concepts like terminal illness and childhood trauma.
The Hate U Give, a cinematic adaptation of the YA novel of the same name by Angie Thomas, directed by George Tillman Jr, looks set to shine a light on the impact of police brutality in America’s black community. After Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the murder of her friend Khali (Algee Smith) by a white policeman, a wave of civil unrest is sparked and she becomes an activist in her community's struggle against systemic forces of oppression. Though this is undoubtedly heavy material for a young adult audience, an impressive cast that includes Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie and Common will hopefully bring the necessary gravitas to these sensitive issues. Although 20th Century Fox might be taking a risk in releasing a film with such incendiary themes, marketed towards an adolescent crowd, the book’s enormous excess (it opened at number one on The New York Times young adult best sellers list) suggests there is already an existing audience for this story. The film is scheduled for release this October.