The Brilliance of “Get Out”
It’s white guilt at its most uncomfortable.
By Shannon Mondesir, Brooklyn College
In an era riddled with racial tension and prejudice toward marginalized groups, filmmaker Jordan Peele’s first major production, “Get Out,” which came out in theatres late January, is knocking people out of their chairs.
The movie, famous now for scoring an almost perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing millions, has provoked conversation about race among moviegoers. With a good mix of comedy and horror, this a movie for everyone, and here are three main reasons why “Get Out” is absolutely necessary to watch in 2017.
*WARNING: Some spoilers ahead, read at your own risk!*
Peele has the white audience squirming in their seats as they watch Chris, the dark-skinned protagonist, enter his white girlfriend’s house for a visit that he thinks will be harmless; in reality, he is about to be a part of an evil scheme that had been put in place for three generations.
Between the subtlety of the racial tension when Dean speaks about the race his father lost when he ran against Jesse Owens (the race his father almost got over, mind you), the party of the family’s wealthy friends that is, in one scene, creepily comparable to a slave auction, and playing Bingo to choose who will take Chris’ body, white people are forced to see racism upon the screen in a way that is not directly accusing them of any wrongdoing, while still remaining enlightening.
2. Interracial Relationships
Though interracial relationships became legal in 1967, it is still often a topic of debate, especially within the African American community. Most black women are constantly bashing black men for dating outside of their race and claim that those who choose to have white partners hate black women, as they are sucked into a form of self-hatred where they don’t want to be with anyone who does not possess “whiteness.”
Likewise, white parents may not be completely okay with the idea of their son or daughter dating a black man or woman. Racism runs deep, and even your parent, who may not have ever shown any prejudice towards a black person, can behave differently when their daughter brings home a black man.
When you see Chris’ dark skin and Rose’s paleness onscreen, the difference almost doesn’t matter because of how much they appear to be in love (though we all know how that turned out). What is the message? Be careful and be mindful.
Because racism has not totally been annihilated, people can still be cruel to those who choose to go into interracial relationships. In the movie’s case, Rose and her family used Chris, as well as Rose’s other suitors, to complete their malicious deeds. Love is love, right?
3. Psychological Horror
There are plenty of well-known psychological horror films—”Silence of the Lambs,” “Psycho”—but this is unlike any other. There are none of the corny jump scares that you will see in many horror films that come out today (ahem, “Shut In.” Don’t watch it).
As the title of this genre reveals, the movie will make you think. The scary parts near the end, such as when Chris is in the chair and in danger of falling into hypnosis, and when he, after going through the horrible ordeal, still as a black man recognized that he had to put his hands up when a cop car’s lights flashed on him, will make you see the true psychological horror that is racism and white supremacy.
Jordan Peele has definitely succeeded in creating a film that is edifying for everyone, without alienating anyone.