This past weekend, I went to see Get Out. If you don’t know the film, it is a horror-comedy movie written and directed by Jordan Peele, released February 24. It took me a month to work up the courage to go see this movie for a number of reasons, which is why these are my not-so-hot takes on a month-old movie.
Check out the trailer below.
Some spoilers ahead, sweetie…
Just Doing My Civic Duty (As A Black Person)
Get Out had a huge opening weekend at the US box office with $30.5 million in gross ticket sales, according to industry tracker Box Office Mojo. That’s 60% more than the next highest grossing movie of that same weekend, The LEGO Batman Movie. In a little under one month, the film has officially crossed 100 million dollars at the box office, making Peele the first black writer-director to do so with a feature debut. As a black person, I felt it was my civic duty to support this movie financially, which, if you know me, is actually a big deal. I don’t go to the actual theatre as often as I’d like to. Mostly, I wait for the movie to come out on Redbox or TV or I download it from Google Play. The reason I went to see this in the theatre and paid for a seat, popcorn and Red Vines is because I felt the need to financially put my money on the line and support black film, black writers and black art, and it was worth the $20 I spent that afternoon, you best believe.
Post-Racial World, My Ass
Let me start with the caveat that I have a lot of white friends (haha). No but seriously, most of the caucasian folks in my life are the kind of people who are not afraid to have a conversation about race, and who recognize that cultural differences are real and not imagined. As I grow into my blackness, one of my biggest pet peeves in when people tell me they “don’t see race”. What? How can someone not notice race? It is literally the first thing we see when we meet someone. It is what shapes our experiences and informs us of the world and vice versa. Race, while it may be a social construct, is important to our communal experiences, which is why, when Rose tells Chris that she never informed her parents that he was black because it “doesn’t matter”, my little mental alarm started to go off. Race matters, at least to me. I am proud to be a African-American/Portuguese/German/French woman and I would hope that my beloved would want to celebrate that fact and ignore it. Being black causes my worldview to be shaped very differently, not only because of my personal experiences, but because of the collective experiences of black folks. Nothing should negate that, not even liberalism.
Interracial Dating Is Scary
Most of you know I am bi-racial, and some of you know I’m married to a white dude. My dear husband comes from a white conservative family, who never really lets me forget that I’m literally the ONLY black person in their white conservative family. They’re extended fam, and we don’t see them much, but even his brothers, who, we do see on a regular basis, seem to think my blackness isn’t a thang, and thus, I won’t be affected by issues that permeate the black community nor will I take offense that those same issues don’t matter to them. I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve heard comments about my blackness–my hair, my skin, my temperament, my music, my clothes–from the mouths of the people I am supposed to call “family” or “friend”. Throughout the film, especially before the crazy brain stuff, I really felt that I could relate to the underlying nervousness of being the only black person in the room because that is often my experience A) at family functions B) in university C) with my many, many, many white friends and relatives.
When There’s Too Many White People, I Get Nervous
I had a conundrum of sorts when I finally decided to go see this film. I have been a horror aficionado since I was a wee middle school girl reading Stephen King under the bed covers, but it’s been over a year since I watched a horror movie. The last film I tried to see, I had a panic attack during the opening credits, which was honestly due to many other things besides the actual movie, but I have been a bit nervous to watch scary ANYTHING since. After talking to my sister, who is ten years younger and a chicken when it comes to scary movies and yet watched this film in the theatre, I decided I definitely wanted to go see Get Out, but I had no one to go with. None of my IRL friends like horror movies and only my hockey buddy who lives 2 hours away had mentioned any interest in seeing this particular film. My husband had no desire to see the movie and even though my daughter wanted to watch it, I didn’t feel comfortable taking her to see something that might potentially be scary. So, I puffed up and went to see it alone, and I am sure glad I did. Get Out isn’t scary in the traditional horror movie sense, thank goodness. The tension lies more in race relations and the decisions that Chris makes that get him in the situation. There are typical horror film tropes, but focused in such a way as to be relatable to a very different audience than your regular old horror flick.
Black Folks Knew What Was Coming…And Yet…
We held out for Rose, didn’t we? Well, I did. After all the obvious bullshit coming at Chris that he ignored, the fact that his GF was in on the Armitage’s little family business actually surprised me.
The villain in this film isn’t Rose, though, or the Armitages, it is liberal racism and the state of race relations in America. While I, along with Chris, held out hope for Rose, the stage was being set for an execution. While I, along with Chris, attempted to excuse behaviours, the Armitages and friends were pushing forward the personal agenda that would ultimately benefit only them, the well off white folks of whatever damn woodland town they lived in. As I sat in the theatre listening to the audience groaning when Chris and Rose were pulled over by a white cop in the middle of nowhere or laughing when his TSA buddy, Rod, tells him to be careful (and scared) with all those white folks in the woods, I wondered how white people might be taking this obvious racial commentary, created, specifically, to make them uncomfortable.
Tell me your thoughts about Get Out in the comments below.
xoxo C. Diva