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Get Out

by on February 24, 2017
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The first must-see movie of 2017, “Get Out” is a darkly funny horror romp that plays like a macabre, racially tinged “Meet the Parents,” with a touch of “The Stepford Wives” thrown in.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is a young man in love with his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams of “Girls”). When she suggests a trip to the country to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener), he chafes. “Did you tell them I’m black?” he asks sheepishly.

“Don’t worry. He would have voted Obama for a third term if he could have,” she says of her dad.

And while the Armitage family is indeed not racist, their insistent over-eagerness to relate to Chris is still somehow off-putting, from their clumsy attempts at slang to her father’s awkward interjections of what he perceives as the “black experience” and, of course, his insistence on evoking Barack Obama as a way to curry favor. (“Best president of my lifetime,” he says, as if that is supposed to endear Chris to him.)

But Chris begins to think there’s something a little more sinister at work when Rose’s mother Missy, a psychiatrist, offers to help Chris drop his smoking habit through hypnosis. And why is it all of the other black people around act so … white?

Writer / director Jordan Peele (yes, as in “Key and”) crafts a deft, witty yarn of racial discomfort in affluent suburbia, capturing the dread of a young urbanite faced with the sinister intentions of … a meek white couple. Of course, the racial undertones aren’t hard to spot. It’s difficult enough meeting your girl’s parents without finding they have scary secrets in their basement.

Indeed Whitford and Keener are both wonderful playing the role of equally awkward parents, taking pains not to upset Chris and Rose even as they announce their annual “get-together” just happens to be the same weekend they chose to visit. And their hurried shushing of the odd behavior of their housekeeper and groundskeeper, who are both, you guessed it, black.

Peele turns the “frightening black person” stereotype on its head here, letting us look at the white world through the eyes of a black man, and indeed the world of barbecues and backslaps can indeed be just as terrifying as any inner-city locale, especially when every other black person perpetually smiles and speaks with almost painfully good diction and looks as if they hardly notice you.

There are plenty of delicious secrets to be revealed in “Get Out,” a few good scares and several laughs both of the nervous and traditional variety. And the film is suggestive of some themes black people have been saying for years; to say more would be giving away too much. It’s the best movie thus far of the young year, and one that you should go out of your way to see.

 

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