If you have a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (and if you also happen to have a pulse), then you have probably been hearing and reading an exceptional amount of buzz and critical acclaim regarding Get Out, a horror film-turned-phenomenon.
After being released two weeks ago, the film has swept the world, breaking and exceeding the expectations of critics. Whether making $45 million dollars in its opening weekend (which regardless is an impressive feat, as the budget of this film was $4.5 million), or the fact that, upon release, it had garnered a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus was crystal clear: Get Out is the must-see movie of 2017.
Jordan Peele, one half of the famous comedic duo Key & Peele, is the mastermind behind Get Out. Peele created the film to be a profound form of art which entertains the audience through eerie occurrences and crude humour. Nevertheless, Peele’s greatest objective through the production and distribution of Get Out was to encourage discussion on the very harsh realities of racism and micro-aggressions which western black folk continue to face in the 21st century. Rest assured, Peele has most certainly achieved this objective.
The film follows the story of a relationship between a young black man, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), and his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams). Upon his girlfriend’s invitation to meet her parents and family for the first time, Chris packs his bags and commutes with Rose to the rich, predominantly white neighbourhood where her family resides. While formally meeting her parents, Chris experiences a number of micro-aggressions.
It is with this that I, a 22 year-old black man, truly connected with Chris’ character.
I cringed as Rose’s father, Dean (Bradley Whitford), sporadically assured Chris that he “would have voted for Obama for a third term.” I gave vicious eye rolls and fire-breathing, dragon-esque sighs as Rose’s brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), ominously told Chris that, in the realm of martial arts, he could do some serious damage due to his “genetic build.”
Alas, the scene that really had me laughing — not because I thought it was funny, but because I was all too familiar with the dialogue — was when, upon Rose introducing Chris to her parents’ friends, an older white woman abruptly halted the conversation and shamelessly asked Rose, “So, is it true? Is it really. . . better?” As she asked Rose this question, her eyes remained locked on Chris, her lips smiled seductively, and she hungrily looked Chris — who is half her age — up and down.
While I watched Chris endure all of these experiences on screen, I sat in the audience and experienced them with him. I wish I could say this was because of my empathetic nature, but truthfully, I resonated with Chris because I know how these experiences feel. Any black man does.
It was just that now, perhaps for the first time, certain white, and non-black folk were seeing how these exchanges felt.
People felt uncomfortable with this film, however many didn’t know why. Perhaps it was because this was a film that, symbolically, reflected the struggles and fears that remain for black folk in our society. Perhaps it was because the struggle this film was trying to present took a lot more effort to ascertain than a slave movie that shows the physical abuse black folk endured for centuries.
Perhaps it was because some realized that a number of these horrors in the film are, to them, just horrors, but to others, these are realities.