Get Out is one of the hottest movies of the moment. Getting critically claimed and several nominations, especially in the MTV Movie and TV Awards; Where Daniel Kaluuya and Lil Rel Howery won some for their incredible interpretations on the film.
The film is really impressive, especially since it’s Jordan Pelee’s directorial debut, and considering that it’s also his jump from comedy to horror. Pelee wrote and produced the film, giving us glances of his cleverness.
Despite the gracious surprise, the movie has a way deeper meaning that most of all might think. We are going deeper through the philosophy of the film and the topics it treats. Going beyond its obvious treatment of racism, needless to say, something very relevant nowadays.
There are some major spoilers ahead. But if you watch the film you will take the most of it.
The cinematic argument
Besides the obvious satirical and cynical argument, the film takes on very current events. The plot takes on and depicts how life is for black Americans. As it criticizes the key situations of police treatment or when they go missing. The story tells us about when Chris, a black photographer, goes on a trip to meet his white girlfriend’s, Rose Armitage, parents. Rose didn’t tell her parents that he is black and is then disturb as they behave oddly, being amazed for his blackness. By his heritage, physical conditions and so on.
As we later discover that Rose’s parents get him into a paralytic hypnotic state, that sends his consciousness into a void called “the sunken place”. In order to make him go through the “coagula” method, and practically sell his body. Something developed by the Armitage family to achieve a pseudo-immortality. In which the brain of their other white older and richer friends get transplanted into the bodies of younger, black, people. The rest and end of the plot are for you to watch.
The film treats the “West-Wing” liberals, who consider themselves to be allies against racism, still, they end up doing more harm than good. They’re nice people, in theory, but their forced interest and strange politeness end up, unintentionally, make anyone, and in this case black people, extremely uncomfortable. Chis meets Rose’s family and their friends, being this treatment what actually annihilates him. With them aroused for his blackness and trying to come up with “black stuff” in order to seem not racist. Making Chris feel more different and uncomfortable.This kind of liberalism hints glances ignorance and a subtle arrogance, ending up in the twisted turnout of the movie. As the movie takes a hit on the supposedly post-racial era that we are living, that also has its dark side.
Chis meets Rose’s family and their friends, being this treatment what actually annihilates him. Making Chris feel more different and uncomfortable.This kind of liberalism hints glances ignorance and a subtle arrogance, ending up in the twisted turnout of the movie. As the movie takes a hit on the supposedly post-racial era that we are living, that also has its dark side.
This fascination for white people with black people is called “negrophilia,” something that was born in Paris during the 20’s. The french society of the time was fascinated with black culture for whom it was a sign of modernity. Sounds familiar right? Obviously, this had his contradiction, with black people being perceived in only two ways. With a demonic ignorant stereotype or as a genius artist. So, in other words, they can never be average normal people. Something that happens to Chris as he is celebrated for being black or as a “biological beast,” due to his physical attributes.
Adding some philosophy to it
Besides exampling classic “negrophilia” the movie also takes a huge hit on racism. As Rose’s dad talks about how his father never got over being beaten by a black athlete and that Chris gets save by using cotton. Also, when we realize that the annual Armitage family reunion is actually an auction in where they’re selling Chris. Along with that, the movie takes a deep in the experience of living as a black person in white America. We get a hint of it before title screen scene where a black guy gets lost in a white suburb maze. Or the encounter with Chris and Rose with a cop, who asks for Chri’s ID even though he wasn’t driving.
This is something that philosopher Frantz Fanon described, living in a white predominant society, as a burdened weight. Similar to Chris who is trying to fit in a “world” where he is obviously excluded. As he attempts to get in Rose’s world but keeping his identity at the same time. This makes Chris’ personality to split in two, a black man and Rose’s nice and acceptable boyfriend. Also, this makes Chris silence his inner voice in order to accommodate into his extern world. Maybe that’s part of the metaphor of the “sunken place.” Despite that Pelee himself has defined it as the place where “we’re marginalized. No matter how hard we scream, the system silences us”.
But according to this logic, any society built on inequality will end up leaving those marginalized without a voice. Making them split their consciousness, as Chris, into two selfs. One in which our true self remains in the background, and another one that is our external mask to fit into society.
This is what sociologist W.E.B Dubois defined as “double consciousness,” leading to black American to end up seeing themselves under the perspective of the dominant, in this case, the white society. Leaving them confused and anxious. Something that can also be related to the haunting obsession Chris develops to the ran over deer, besides that it remembers him at the time his mom died. Since he is a helpless spectator of watching any living thing die. But at the end Chris survives as he takes all this symbolisms, cotton, the head of a deer and a bocce ball, to escape from the Armitage house. In a way “emancipating himself” and “regaining or reaffirming his identity”.