Watch Out For Liberals
Get Out – Meet the Family
Dir. Jordan Peele, USA, 2017, 114 minutes
In the new film Get Out, a black man visits his white girlfriend’s parents and almost ends up on a dissection table. It’s a horror film, and it’s one of the most popular movies out now.
Remember Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Back in 1967, Sidney Poitier came to the house of his white girlfriend’s liberal parents. Things got awkward, but it was Hollywood, so we got that era’s version of a happy ending, . In Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris Washington, who visits the home of his girlfriend’s family. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? was wholesome. Get Out is a horror movie.
Once Chris arrives, he begins to see that things are strange. Even stranger than the condescending politeness of his hosts is the robotic ingratiating behavior of the black employees and a black guest at their garden party. His girlfriend’s mother is a psychiatrist who hypnotizes people. He’s next in line. Without giving too much away, let’s say that he’s on line to have his brain removed by his girlfriend’s father, a surgeon who seemed liberal when he met him. No scalpel is liberal when it’s cutting the brains out of your head. We end up with quite a body count.
Get Out is a huge hit, deservedly, and could be one for a while. The acting plays into the mood of false courtesy, as if everything’s ok between the races. The horror lurking underneath that politeness and underneath the home visited by Chris is ghastly, but uncomfortably real – even by horror film standards.
Jordan Peele has written and directed a drama that sustains a length of two hours, and shows the promising talents of its young cast. I hope that Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams and LilRel Howery will be nurtured rather than consumed by the celebrity that they’ve earned here.
But think of what this film about the ultimate exploitation of another race says about our own race relations, or about what the film’s author and a lot of its audience thinks it says. It says, among a lot of other things, that Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, made 50 years ago, was far too optimistic.
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