Movie of the Week- Get Out
Jordan Peele’s Get Out, rightfully earned the title of best horror film of the 21st century. Get Out is centered on Chris, the (African-American) protagonist, visiting his (white) girlfriend, Rose Armitage’s, parents, for the first time. Rose tells Chris that he is the first black person she has dated. Reasonably so, Chris is nervous that the Armitages won’t approve of their daughter dating an African-American man.
Rose and Chris are shown driving to the parent’s estate, and the opening credits begin to roll. The song that plays during the credits foreshadows the events of the movie. The song is called Sikiliza, written in Swahili. The lyrics are as follows: “Brother, listen to the ancestors. Run! You need to run far! (Listen to the truth) Brother, listen to the ancestors Run! Run! To save yourself, Listen to the ancestors.” This song is a warning for Chris and for all of the people whom the Armitages abduct. The song is played repeatedly throughout the movie, emphasizing that if Chris wants to live, he must “get out.”
When Chris and Rose arrive at the house, they tell the Armitages that they ran over a deer, justifying their delay. Rose’s father, Dean, praises the couple for hitting the deer, a so-called “service to the community.” He then rants about how the species ruins local neighborhoods. It sure is funny how deer and African-Americans are both accused of ruining neighborhoods. Ironically, the Armitages prolong the lives of white people by transferring their brains into healthy black bodies, despite their claims that black people are worthless.
Rose’s mother, Missy, is a hypnotist. She hypnotizes Chris by stirring a silver spoon in a teacup. A silver spoon represents privilege. Their terrible actions go undetected because they are shielded by their wealth and their race. In the US slavery era, the wives of slave owners would strike their teacup to summon their slaves. When Missy hypnotizes Chris, she tells him to go to the “sunken place.” This is the perpetual state of mind he will be in when someone else's brain is put into his body. He feels paralyzed. This represents how many African Americans feel today in the face of racism: powerless and vulnerable. Soon at a bingo game, which was really an auction for Chris’ body, the guests were commenting on Chris’ physical attributes and things like “black is the new style.” The auction is of course reminiscent of a slave auction.
Locked in the basement, tied to a leather chair, about to be involuntarily lobotomized, Chris notices a tear in the arm of the chair. He uses his fingernails to rip the cotton stuffing from the chair. He stuffs the cotton into his ears, preventing him from hearing the stirring of the teacup so that he will not be hypnotized again. Ironically, the cotton slaves used to pick on southern plantations ended up saving Chris’ life.
Overall, the symbolism in Get Out reveals the much deeper and complex meaning behind the movie. On its surface, Get Out may seem like an everyday horror movie, however it is one that really makes you think.