One of the more interesting movies I watched in recent times was Get Out, and I walked into it thinking it was going to be a drama about race in the modern day. At least that is what the one-liner has us believe: “A young black man meets his white girlfriend’s parents one weekend.” They didn’t have to add “And then things go wrong.” Get Out is a drama, in the way it casually teaches us about race, and what it means to be a black person in America now. But it also cleverly brings in elements of horror and satire.
Chris and Rose are off to meet her parents, who seem like your average white couple living in remote suburbia that is almost wilderness. “Don’t go to a white girl’s parents’ house!” Chris’s friend/TSA Agent/funny guy warns him. Chris goes anyway.
The groundskeeper, Walter, and maid, Georgina, are both black, and Chris thinks they are behaving unusually, though he cannot quite make out what is unusual about them. Maybe Walter likes Rose a bit too much.. Maybe Georgina hasn’t seen Rose with a black man before.. The parents seem overly interested in Chris, which unnerves him, but he is willing to brush that aside as well. He may be in love with Rose, and these niggles could be ignored, he reasons.
Get Out wants to make big bold points. The movie builds up slowly, tightening its grip on us, even if the end feels somewhat clumsy. It has something to say about slavery and the lasting effects of the consistent degradation of a specific group of people. It tells us that being colour-blind does not help anyone. It makes a point about the privilege certain communities posses, and how their privilege allows them to pick what they like and ignore what they don’t, appropriating another’s culture while propagating prejudice. This is especially painful to observe when we watch Chris trying to interact with the only other black man at a family event. This man is black by appearance and not much else though; he is accepted by the others because his references, language and cultural markers bear no relation to his race anymore. We are also initially lulled into thinking Rose and Chris are a team – from the way she calls out a police officer on his inherent racism when dealing with Chris, or from the way she always appears to be on Chris’s side. But we come to realize she isn’t any different from her parents’ generation, who think they may be above the ugliness of race because they voted for a mixed-race man to lead their country.
Get Out is creepy, scary, crazy, at times funny, and it made me think.