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In “Get Out” Peele has created an all too plausible claustrophobic world viewed from African American perspective. Certainly the humor is a relief and the film is a story well told. But in the end, rather than merely trying to get out, we clearly need to work on rebuilding this world for all of us to live in.

 

Chris Washington, a young Black Man, is going with his white girlfriend to spend the weekend at her parents’ country estate. What could possibly go wrong?

Writer-Director Jordan Peele’s very scary, very funny new movie “Get Out” sends up a host of racial and social stereotypes to show us what could go wrong. Peele (“Keanu”, “Key and Peele”, “The Daily Show”) uses the horror film to shine a bright light on assumptions which undergird much of our cross race interactions.

Hypnotic at times. Hyperbolic occasionally. But hysterical in every sense! Peele works comfortably in the genre, creating a menacing landscape of privilege, patriarchy and parochialism.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya – “Sicario”, “Johnny English”) and his 4 month girl friend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams – “Girls”, “Peter Pan” and . . . NBC News’ Brian Williams daughter) are clearly smitten with each other. But a cloud shadows their visit. Will Rose’s parents – psychiatrist Missy Armitage (the usually warm, vibrant Catherine Keener – “Captain Phillips”, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”) and neurosurgeon Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford – “West Wing”, “Scent of a Woman”) – accept their daughter’s Black boyfriend?

Rose insists they will. As proof Rose assures Chris: He’ll tell you he would vote for a third term for President Obama, if he could. Sure enough, Dean Armitage does exactly that. But it’s not reassuring.

Rose explains how her mother can help cure Chris’ addiction to smoking. Of course, that’s not the only thing she tries to cure him of . . .

With so much benevolent understanding, why does Chris still have nagging doubts? Could it be the strangely robotic, other worldly Black servants Marcus Henderson (“Django Unchained”, “Whiplash”) and Betty Gabriel (“The Purge”) in a menacing cameo? Could it be the embarrassingly fatuous, fawning, stereotype spewing, daftly doting all white gentry ostensibly assembled to celebrate the annual Armitage family memorial? Or could it be the series of recent young Black male disappearances?

 

If Chris is really in danger, can he rely on help from Rose or her family, from any of their friends or neighbors, the servants, the police or from his comically suspicious friend Rod (LilRel Howery – “Get a Job”), who is, after all, a TSA?

In “Get Out” Peele has created an all too plausible claustrophobic world viewed from African American perspective. Certainly the humor is a relief and the film is a story well told. But in the end, rather than merely trying to get out, we clearly need to work on rebuilding this world for all of us to live in.

Previously published February 28, 2017 at The Huffington Post

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