Back in February I bought advance tickets to see Jordan Peele’s satirical horror GET OUT in advance to make sure I didn’t miss it. I had been waiting since Halloween to see this movie that promised to scare the shit out of us by exposing racism as a monster that would even make Candyman’s black ass run for cover. I went to see it on its second day in theatres. I didn’t just go to any screening. I saw the movie at an Alamo Draftfouse in San Francisco filled with white people that tried to act like they knew what was going on but really didn’t. When the film was over I looked around and saw that the other 5 black folks in the theatre had joined me in looking around to see where their tribe was in case they needed to fight their way outta there. I tried for several weeks to write my extensive thoughts on the film but I was never quite able to bottle all my thoughts. While I was thinking, every single writer and blog was taking their turn at breaking the film down. I decided to just let them do it and move on.
Last week Get Out was released on DVD and the week before that it hit ITunes. Our school BSU decided to host a screening of the film. As a “tech check” I decided to show it to all five of my classes. So, this means that last Friday I saw Get Out a grand total of 5 times back to back. This was after I did the required teacher only viewing at home that Sunday before to make sure there wasn’t anything the students couldn’t see. Before I watched at home, a friend warned me that I would see so many new things now that the fear of the ending had been stripped away. He was correct but I wasn’t prepared to see brand new things every single time I watched. Although BUZZFEED published a handy, 22 Things You May Have Missed in Get Out, it seems that a lot of the things on their list were easy to spot. As I started watching the film over and over I noticed a few subtle things that most people, myself included, missed the first time around. A few of which gave greater contextual meaning to the events of the film. I won’t even pretend that I read every single think piece on this film but I read quite a few and here are somethings I that I felt worthy to discuss.
- This is a great place to start the list. And apparently, a great place to start the movie. When Rose and Chris arrive at the Armitage estate they chatter a little bit and then the father asks Chris if he wants to unpack. “You ready to unpack? Let’s unpack. Unpacking is the term commonly used when starting conversations about complex social or political issues. Usually when writing articles where you are going to dig deep into issues, writers or editors say, “Let’s unpack the issue.” It seemed like a rather innocuous request in the context of the film, however, the filmmakers are telling us they are getting ready to unpack some deep issues.
2. There were a handful of articles that focused on Georgina, the Armitage’s maid, and how she embodies different aspects of the story of black women in racial America. However, there were some incredibly important things about Georgina that the article, and every other article about the film, missed. When Dean is showing Chris around the house they arrive at the kitchen. He tells Chris that his mother loved her kitchen and that they left a piece of her there. At that exact moment, we meet Georgina for the first time. At that point, Chris doesn’t know that Georgina is Grandma Armitage but the insinuation is that host Georgina spends all her time there because that’s where Grandma loves to be. We know that within white supremacy sexism is just as important as the oppression of people of color. Grandma Armitage was a good white woman who knew and loved her place in the kitchen. When she flips out at the end of the movie we understand that the only thing that she IS concerned about is her house. Grandma taking a black woman as a host is effectively forcing “unruly” “undomesticated” black women into her rightful place of service. When Georgina is seen fighting her host she is fighting to use her voice to escape her docile existence.
3. “Did he say something?” Throughout the movie, Rose asks this question each and every time that one black person talks to another. Whether it’s Chris talking to Walter or Rob calling to talk to Chris. She is always afraid that they would talk to each other and alert one another to the danger. One thing that I have learned is that whenever there is a space that primarily white or non-black POC, folks get terrified when they see two or more black people together. If we spread too much knowledge and information amongst each other we might slip up and get free.
4. Also on the tour, Dean points out that they had black mold in the basement and had to seal it up. That one pretty much explains itself.
5. Three times Chris catches Georgina in the upstairs bedroom messing around with her hair. Previous reviews attributed this to Georgina looking at her lobotomy scars. But if Grandma Armitage is controlling her thoughts and functions why would she be doing that. I think it’s more of her admiring her white centered beauty by admiring the one part of her appearance that sticks to Eurocentric standards of beauty. Her Hair. She is consistently stroking it and making sure that it is perfectly place in her head. This represents black women’s fascination with white beauty standards and using things like fake hair to achieve it.
6. Rod is your basic run of the mill internet conspiracy theorists. If the camera flash represents cameras being used to video tape police brutality that wakes folks up, then Rob is the “woke” fools online that take information too over the damn edge. But be right though! They are hilarious. You admire their passion and sometimes they are right about the craziest things. But once they sniff some suspicious white foolery they will ride to the ends of the earth to save your dumb, sunken ass. Everybody needs a friend like Rod from TS Muthafuckin A!
7. Jeremy is as the embodiment of the mediocre white man. He is bitter because his family mostly ignores him no matter what boneheaded thing he does to get their attention. He is steadily trying to prove he is cool and worthy of more attention then the black dudes his sister keeps bringing home. When Dean asks Chris questions about what sport he plays, Brad tries to center the attention back on himself by diminishing Chris’ skill because he does Judo. Then he challenges a totally uninterested Chris to a fight. He is desperate to prove that he is better than Chris and spends most of the movie trying one thing or the other to overpower the apple of his parent’s eye. The only comfort that he finds is being able to manhandle him when he is hypnotized.
8. It’s not an extraordinary catch but it was certainly cool to watch and hear Logan’s conciousness swim back to the surface when Chris flashes him. You don’t notice how empty his eyes are until you see “Anthony” reappear in them.
9. “Your eye man. I want those things you see out of.” We all know that cultural appropriation plays a huge plot in what is going on at the Armitage house. But in this current news cycle of things like Miley Cyrus deciding she don’t wanna be black no more and Katy Perry picking up the let me make a few dollars off black culture mantel, we should really think even harder about what this particular statement meant. Most times when we think about appropriation we think about stealing language or art or styles. But we forget that all this stems from white fascination with black cool and black skin. At the Beginning of the Behold the Coagula video, Grandpa Armitage states “You have been chosen for the natural attributes that you have enjoyed your whole life.” In other words, you were given all these gifts and they are being wasted on you. As if these gifts are rightfully his and he should have them. Later in the explanation video when the art dealer says he wants Chris’ eye, he is asking from something that you can’t tangibly get by snatching someone’s body. Chris’ “eye” represents is cool or style. That’s not something you can transition if you repress his consciousness. That’s clear by Logan’s terrible old white man clothes. But in fetishizing black cool white people believe that you can put on the clothes, learn the dances or even take a black person’s body and then embody our cool. News flash. You can’t.
10. At the very end, Chris is escaping and he has picked Georgina off the road and has her in the passenger seat next to him. Georgina slowly comes to and as she raises up to attack Chris her wig slowly slides off her head until she flies into a wild rage. This is a signal of her slipping from demure white lady to “raging” black woman. After Chris slams the car into a tree he looks over after Georgina and we see that her wig has come all the way off to reveal her real hair.
11. Chris is never UN-hypnotized. Any fan of comedy shows or movies will tell you that you must be unhyponotized to not go under again. The film itself is aware of this because when Chris escapes he races Missy to her teacup and breaks it before she can clink it again and disable him. So, if he is still hypnotized that means that the very next time a white woman clinks her glass, he will be disconnected from his consciousness again. It’s only a matter of time.