Of all the movies to see in 2017, Get Out needs to be at the top of your list. This post is going to be a little more off topic than those that I have written in the past, but this movie was just SO GOOD that I had to write about it.
Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (YES-Jordan Peele of Key and Peele!!! Amazing isn’t it???), is a movie about a young African-American man, Chris Washington, who’s dating a young caucasian woman named Rose Ermitage. The couple are getting ready for a weekend at Rose’s parent’s house and in one of the first conversations of the movie Chris expresses his concern with being her first black boyfriend being introduced to the family. Rose reassures him that there is nothing to worry about and that in fact, her father would have voted for Obama for a third time if he could (which she warns he will definitely bring up to him when they meet, and she’s right he does-but it happens completely out of nowhere and clearly is only said because her dad is trying to prove that he’s not racist while sounding completely not genuine at all). I don’t want to give away the whole movie, but a lot of sh*t goes down when they spend the weekend there and Chris was DEFINITELY right to question her at the very beginning. Again, I don’t want to give away what happens during his weekend at the Armitage’s, but they are definitely 100% racist.
What is so great about this movie is that although it dramatized racism by adding the thrilling element of brainwashing and neurosurgery to add to the elements of horror, the themes that existed underneath those exaggerations are still issues that African Americans deal with in today’s society. On the way to the Armitage’s remote home in the woods (a remote home in the woods with no neighbors is a red flag if I’ve ever seen one) they hit a deer, which symbolized a lot for the movie’s plot, but when they call the police to report the issue, the officer asks for Chris’s license for absolutely no reason. Rose basically tells the officer to f*ck off because there was no real reason for looking at Chris’s license and the douchey cop listens to her and leaves. You would think this shows that Rose understands that officers are notorious for discriminating against African-Americans, especially African-American men, but really she’s trying to cover up any trace that he was visiting her parent’s home that weekend. This incident aided in the plot in this way, but it also highlighted racism that still exists among the police in the United States.
The movie also highlights and makes fun of those white people who are “not racist” but still make such weird and uncomfortable comments about the black community. Chris is thrown into this party with a ton of middle aged to elderly white people and as Rose is going around introducing him to everyone, they are all making such uncomfortable comments about Chris. One woman even asks Rose, right in front of Chris, if it’s true that “blacks do it better” which was completely weird and inappropriate. Another scene has one gentleman exclaiming that black is back in fashion, which is just not something you say. Ever. There are soooo may other examples of this throughout the beginning to middle of the film and listening to it all happen, and watching Chris bite his tongue every time, just showed that people really do say sh*t like this and think it’s okay. This is the other side of racism that people don’t realize exists. Saying that black is black is back in fashion or is trending is talking about how white people LOVE to appropriate black culture (i.e. Kylie Jenner getting cornrows and being praised for it while a black woman having cornrows is being shamed for it and even being denied opportunities because of it). Treating black culture as a trend but then not supporting black lives or advocating for equality is a huge theme among white people and Get Out zeroed in on this theme while contributing to the overall plot of the film.
Basically, this movie recognized the inherent racism that exists among white people through a horror movie plot. This movie didn’t have racism in the form of using derogatory terms or discriminating in a way that is “traditional” racism that most schools teach us. Instead, the movie calls out “nice racism”. This is where white people compliment African Americans on their athleticism and how their culture and “aesthetic” has become “a new trend”. Even though things like this may sound like you’re saying the right thing, it’s deep rooted racism can’t be ignored.
Get Out had so many genius and compelling themes within a plot that was enticing and thrilling. I loved this movie so much that I saw it twice within a week and I plan on seeing it again soon. It is rare, and even non-existent in mainstream films, that there is a black protagonist in a horror/thriller like Get Out and it was amazing to see this movie do so well in its first weekend and reach record highs for box office numbers. I could probably write about all of the other themes and subtle nods at slavery and racism forever, but this would be even longer than it already is. So, if you go to see Get Out, don’t just see it as a horror movie, see it for its amazing underlying themes of racism in America.