"Get Out" Movie Review
***This post contains spoilers about "Get Out" (surprise, surprise). If you haven't seen the movie yet, I suggest that you head to your nearest theater ASAP and watch it, then come back***
“Get Out” is Jordan Peele’s phenomenal directorial debut that takes a fantastical look at the horror of racism in America. It follows the story of a black man visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the weekend in a small, secluded town. As the film unfolds, the audience is privy to a fictionalized, yet eerily familiar, set of events that will cause the viewer to question their own understanding of and relationship with race.
What’s alarming about this film is that while the actions of the Armitage family seem outlandish, the fetishism of black culture and disregard for black lives is not new. Over the past few years, we’ve been inundated with the idea of “cultural appropriation”, which is the adoption of one culture’s practice by another without proper attribution or recognition. The Kardashian-Jenner clan is a notable example of the appropriation of black culture. However, in the case of “Get Out”, this appropriation is taken to a higher level. During the family gathering scene, Chris is idolized for his physique and his “coolness”, both of which are in regards to his blackness. These white people can appreciate his characteristics, yet they are not able to respect him as a person. They have no problem bidding on a black man and enslaving him in a prison of his own mind to reap the benefits of his attributes for themselves.
This also leads into the film’s apt commentary on the idea of the white liberal ally. On the surface, the Armitage’s and their friends are seemingly what an ally should be like. They voted for Obama, they marry black men, and their black hired help are considered members of the family (figuratively and later shown to be literally). In theory, they are the kind of white people who “get it”. However, when this idolization of culture is not paired with respect for the person, it becomes something dangerous. In our society, we must be cognizant of the danger of unmitigated idolization and we must demand not only appreciation, but respect from those who claim to be our allies.
Overall, the film was incredible for many reasons, but one scene resonated deeply with me. At the end of the film, when Chris is crouching over a half dead Rose and he sees the flashing police lights, we are treated to a phenomenal bit of acting by Daniel Kaluuya. The look on his face embodies the fear that too many people of color feel when engaging with police officers. As Rose, beings to feign innocence and cry for help, Chris understands that even though he was the victim of a horrendous crime, in the eyes of the law, he is a monster. His skin makes him something to be feared. And when it turns out that his best friend is behind the wheel and has come to rescue him, you can’t help but feel relieved. In our theater, the audience burst into applause. This scene is especially relevant because this happens much too often. Skin color can often sway an interpretation of the situation more so than the truth, and our main character was acutely aware of this.
All in all, we at RYTF are big fans of “Get Out” and we look forward to Jordan Peele’s next project. He has promised to create more films based on social demons and we are definitely here for it!