Get Out, funny man Jordan Peele’s film directional debut, does a magnificent job of presenting the current flawed race relations that darken America. It’s twisted, awkwardly hilarious and equally frightening. At its best, it crafts a different way of pointing out the elephants in the room— the complexities of being a black man in America and the blatant racism that cripples his existence.
The film chronicles everything that can possibly go wrong when Chris, a young African-American man (played by Daniel Kaluuya), accompanies his white girlfriend Rose (played by Girls star Allison Williams), to a family reunion to meet the parents.
There are clever one-liners sprinkled with micro-aggressions and faux displays of acceptance in efforts to place a blind eye on prejudice. Nonetheless, the tumultuous theme of politics is also a thing here. But before the movie gets to those conversations, moviegoers will witness a first-hand account of how privileged white privilege really is.
While en route to Rose’s parents home in suburbia, they get stopped on the highway by the police. Rose is behind the wheel, yet Chris still gets mistreated by the white cops. He is asked (with an attitude) to provide identification even though he wasn’t driving. In defense of her man, Rose demands the cop leave him alone and gives them a feisty rebuttal. After, the police, of course, leave. It gets one thinking, would this have been the same outcome if Rose was a black woman instead? Personally, Sandra Bland instantly came to mind. Amid the racially charged questions, its script is still endearing. For instance, the bromance between Chris and Lil Rel Howry is contagious and funny. Howry’s character plays the hero both metaphorically and literally. His tell-it-like-it-is persona will have viewers dissolving in laughter.
“My character represents the audience that will go see this movie,” Howry tells VIBE over the phone. “In the theater or at home one of the things that I learned from my character is that being real helps.”
Without spoiling anything, viewers will see how real things get here, and how Howry plays a pivotal role in saving Chris from the madness. Interestingly enough, Chris senses something is quite off once they arrive. “Do they know I’m black?” he warns Rose, referring to her family. At first glance, her parents comprised of a neurosurgeon father and a hypnotherapist mother (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) walk on blind faith and don’t see color. Their attempts at making Chris feel comfortable backfire, and are in fact cringe worthy. They boast about voting for Obama as if that gives them a pass. It’s a timely conversation considering the current political climate, but it wasn’t something Peele deliberately did on purpose. It just worked out that way.
“He came up with the concept of the film eight years ago,” Howry explains of Peele’s process. “It wasn’t something he came up with because of Trump or anything like that. This was based on the Obama-Clinton campaign. The battle between Hillary and Obama was people trying to make a decision about who we felt bad for—that we didn’t have a woman president yet or a black president. So it was that battle. It’s very interesting that he came up with this movie eight years ago and it makes sense now.”
Visually, the movie is composed of blood, hypnotized black servants, hungry racist parents, a bad girlfriend and awkward trenches of nervous sweat. It also targets topical issues affecting the black community, like trepidations about mental health. Just as it stirs up a conversation, it also stimulates the mind. This isn’t a typical podcast like conversations about race; there are other elements here that make up a good horror—yet comical—thriller. Peele’s masterpiece feels like a cross between science-fiction, comedy and the pure black truth mixed in a complicated concoction.
Get Out debuts in theaters Friday (Feb. 24).