Opening weekend, I went to see the most anticipated film of the year, so far, “Get Out.” Bae and I went to see the matinee in Midtown. I figured that there would be a pretty mixed crowd and I would have a pretty decent viewing experience. That couldn’t have been more accurate.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should probably stop reading right now. There will be plenty of spoilers.
Initially, I was worried. I knew that it was a “horror” film. I typically love horror films. Jump-scares actually make me laugh. But this was different. So by all means, call it what you want, but this was definitely a psychological thriller for many different reasons.
There were a few jump-scares, but for the most part, “Get Out” made you think. It made you wonder about your deepest fears. It asked you your fears, and then placed them directly in front of you and told you not to move for the remainder of the film.
Let’s talk about the hypnosis for a minute. Many people view hypnosis as a way of letting someone inside their mind. That’s not too far from the truth. A quick bing search will define hypnosis as “the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction. Its use in therapy, typically to recover suppressed memories or to allow modification of behavior by suggestion, has been revived but is still controversial.”
In the movie, hypnosis plays a very important part of the plot. The mother is a psychiatrist who helps people deal with issues. Upon Chris’s arrival, she offered to help rid him of his smoking habit. She promised that hypnosis would do the trick. His girlfriend responded by saying that not everyone likes their heads to be messed with.
Chris becomes suspicious. His first night, her mother convinced him to come and join her in the den. While doing this, she began to ask him questions related to the death of his mother. These questions brought back memories that he had previously suppressed. This memory of his mother would ultimately cause him to make decisions that he probably wouldn’t have made otherwise.
Chris begins to notice that the only other black people in the neighborhood are strange. He tries to communicate with them all at different times. Each time, he gets nowhere. There is no mental connection at all. He seems to feel alone in all of this. His girlfriend begins to side with him and tells him that she’s sorry for bringing them there and that maybe her parents are racist.
To me, the hypnosis represents the media’s ability to make us believe whatever they want. They place images into our minds and allow us to create alternate realities almost. The same goes for slavery. When slaves were brought to America from Africa, they were told that they were stupid because they didn’t speak American’s native tongue. Because many African’s didn’t know any better, they accepted that as true. Harriet Tubman said that she could have saved more slaves, if only they knew that they were slaves. By keeping slaves in the dark, they could not reach their full potential. It hindered their growth on so many levels. But they needed us for their labor. The things that they were unable to do, they forced Africans to do it because they typically produced things more effectively and efficiently.In a world where people believe everything they hear, hypnosis wouldn’t seem too far fetched.
This brings us to the belief that African Americans are often idolized by others who don’t quite understand our culture. This movie takes things a bit farther. The white members of the community actually bid on Chris. This bid will determine who he belongs to. Once they complete the purchase, Chris is subdued and forced into the basement of the house. While here, he watches a video where his buyer explains to him exactly what will occur.
The girlfriend’s father , who is a neurosurgeon would ultimately remove about 75% of Chris’s brain and replace it with 75% of the buyer’s brain. This will allow the buyer, the ability to function as Chris. The 25% of Chris’s brain that would be left is the tiny part that still remains. If he were to ever come to and leave the state of hypnosis, he would remember who he was long enough to hate the idea that someone had stolen his identity but was evil enough to keep him aware. His buyer was blind and Chris had an eye for photography that the buyer didn’t have. There have been many instances and talks about organ harvesting in the U.S., particularly of African Americans. It would’ve been too much for him to just simply steal Chris’s eyes for him to see, he wanted to be him. This takes organ harvesting to an entirely different level. Not only did the white people in this community want to be like African Americans, they went the extra mile to become them.
Jordan Peele played on the fear of black men dating outside of their race. People make jokes about black men dating white women and they make fun of the fact that white women often have a history of causing black men to get into trouble, specifically with the law. But while people are joking, this is a legitimate fear.
Close to the end of the movie, Rose (Chris’s girlfriend), is sitting on the bed looking online for her next victim, specifically basketball players. I remember growing up with all boy cousins. Most of them were athletes. We also went to a majority white high school. There was always the fear in the back of my mind that one of them would get involved with a white girl and she would end his athletic career, by claiming rape or because her parents simply didn’t approve of the relationship. Though this fear was often unmerited, the fear was there all the same. Peele showed us things that we never actually wanted to talk about.
Something that stood out about this movie to me, was the scientific way that the community went about stealing the bodies of African Americans. I instatntly thougth of the movie, “The Skeleton Key.” This movie is based in New Orleans and focuses on Hoodoo. They go a spiritual route in stealing bodies of people that are more valuable than their own. To compare these movies, allows someone to realize the difference in the way African Americans think. Many African Americans grow up believing in their spirituality. They spend time nurturing that side of them. In a quest to live forever, the characters in “The Skeleton Key” uses spells and rituals to steal the bodies of others. While the characters in “Get Out” used science and brain surgery to do the same thing.
If I had to describe this film in three phrases, it would be, Stay Woke, Pay Attention, and Get Out.
With all of the symbolism in the movie, I believe that Peele left the movie open for interpretation. This is only my opinion. What are your thoughts?