Photo Credit: Get Out Facebook Page
Written by: Ava DePasquale
We know Jordan Peele in a comedic light from his time on Key and Peele, clearly a talented actor and writer, but was anyone expecting what we found in his debut film “Get Out”? Heavy, complex, and comedic at times, Peele’s directing debut comes during a racially charged time. As a nation we are dealing with issues on race and for many people it is an uncomfortable topic.
Our current uncomfortable cultural climate syncs up well with the first half of the film, in which our main character, a black man named Chris visits his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. This first half of the movie consists of a series of awkward and covertly racist encounters between Chris and Rose’s family members. Rose’s father appears to be overly enthusiastic about his daughter dating a black man as he hops up and down like a teenage girl at a one direction concert after shaking Chris’s hand for the first time. Her brother Jeremy passionately comments on Chris’s race physical advantages right before he tries to choke him out at the dinner table. If the family encounters weren’t already awkward enough they send for backups as a fleet of black cars delivers a crowd of white guests for the families “annual get together.” Chris’s encounter with each white couple is increasingly uncomfortable as they gawk over him commenting on his assumed athletic abilities, and assure him that being black is now “in style.” One woman asks if it’s true that sex with black men is better as she squeezes his bicep. What we at first think is a display of over acceptance and admiration in an attempt to not appear racist on the part of the white guests reveals to be much more.
Though the film is filled with uncomfortable content, Peele showcases his talent as a writer by seamlessly including comic relief in the script. Chris’s friend Rodney provides most of the film’s comedic relief. It is clear that the film is also a satire on wealthy white families as well. Most of the white people in the film appear fake and mannequin-like and their big idea to lighten the mood after one of the local black men has a violent outburst at the get together involves “sparklers and bingo!” Bingo by the way turns out to be an auction in which the white guests bid on Chris.
The ultimate plot itself turns out to be a bit ridiculous and comedic as it turns out that Rose’s family is in the business of transplanting white people’s brains into black people’s bodies through a collaboration of hypnosis and neurosurgery. No matter how ridiculous the plot may be, it speaks to real racist beliefs and stereotypes widely believed in the past and still dealt with today. No matter how satirically tinged the film is it brings to light haunting recollections of past racial issues and historic events.
Towards the end of the film I felt that the script made everything a little too obvious when it had already done a good job of subtly setting up the plot and surrounding ideas. It was as if the
Peele was trying to spell the plot out to us, as if he didn’t think his audience would be smart enough to get exactly what was going on in the end.
Rudy’s comedy wasn’t quite subtle enough to work as intended for comedic relief. His over the top personality didn’t mesh all that well with subtle satire found throughout the film. However in Peele’s defense it is always difficult to add comedy to such heavy and violent issues and I think he did a better job than most writer/directors could do. Overall I think the purpose of this film was to make us think and that is definitely what it does.