Get Out Movie Review
Get Out Movie Review Metadata
This is what I can tell you about Get Out:
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), accepts an invitation to meet his girlfriend’s parents in Upstate New York. Chris is concerned that the whole weekend will be tense and awkward because Rose (Allison Williams) hasn’t told them that he’s Black, and Rose comes from a very white, very wealthy family. She dismisses his fears as paranoid because her parents just aren’t like that.
But they never are, right?
Get Out begins as a very simple fish out of water story where the elephant in the room is race. At its heart it’s about assimilation and fitting in – at least the parts deemed worthy. It’s about being Black in a world where you’re judged by the successes and failures of famous or infamous Blacks you don’t know and have never met – because that’s often the only visibility many people have with Blacks – celebrity and infamy. Micro-aggressions are amplified as Rose tries to be both proactive and sympathetic to how Chris is treated, but can only be kinda impotently outraged. She is properly mortified when after a minor accident, a police officer asks for Chris’ ID, despite the fact that he wasn’t driving. Chris tries to brush it off, trying to diffuse a tense situation, but Rose is irate and defensive. The power she holds with the attitude only succeeds in widening the gulf between their lives. She can do what he can’t – stand up for himself in the face of an authority figure with a gun. It’s stark and it’s painful and it’s just the beginning.
Once they arrive, everything is as bad as Chris feared – the hired help is very Black – housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and grounds-keeper, Walter (Marcus Henderson) – and every interaction with him is over-polite with sharp threads of extreme hostility. It feels like a race thing, and don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is a race thing. Parents, Missy and Dean (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford), obliviously navigate through a minefield of superficially innocent faux-pas, deepening his discomfort and twisting the tension to a healthy medium-high.
That’s really all I can tell you.
There are clues as to what’s coming, with sly dialog that is pandering on the surface, but deepens into malicious stabs. Get Out is full of the palpable social missteps that occur when “colorblind” and “progressive” people try to overcome systemic racism over lunch and a handshake. “I would have voted for Obama for another 4 years if I could have.” At an afternoon party, an older guest asks Rose about Chris, “Is it true?” and all you can says is “omg” because you know that conversation is happening right now between the generations. It sounds like parody, and it is, but it’s absolutely not, and that’s why it works like a sucker punch. You laugh because it’s so absurd. Then you cringe, because this happens every day.
The trailers are deliberately vague because any hint as to why and how would spoil the fun that begins to spiral about the second act, when the pieces start to fall together and then blow apart, and it’s too late to do anything about it.
One more person I’d like to mention because his part is so brilliantly (under)played is that of down-to-earth friend and sidekick, Rod, played to common sense perfection by LilRel Howery. He’s our comedic color commentator – you’ll pardon the pun – and he lays the facts out on the table to anyone who will listen, (sadly, no one). He points out the problem with the whole situation (”sex slaves,” he insists), and as is the case with so many cinematic Cassandras, is patently ignored. It really wasn’t sex slaves, so that part he got hilariously wrong. It was the thematic break needed to keep the movie from being to heavy.
Why does this movie with a very familiar premise work? Writer and first-time director Jordan Peele takes a story that could have gone sideways in six different ways and teases out only the bits that work. Instead of producing something pat and pedestrian, which seems to be all the rage in modern horror (see The Bye Bye Man (2017) and Rings (2017)), Get Out evolves into a smart thriller replete with casual racism, subverted tropes, and a keen eye for subliminal callbacks recognizable to any fan of the genre. Peele has been paying attention. He knows how it all works. This is a movie worth seeing twice. You see it in the afternoon, discuss over an early dinner, see again in the evening and discuss further over dessert.
This is that movie, and it’s a strong recommend from me.
Get Out is rated R for swears, shotgun deaths, violence with a billiard ball, quite a bit of blood at the end.