This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing “Get Out” — and yes, it certainly earned the 99 percent rating it was given on Rotten Tomatoes. Between the intricacies of the plot and the calculated cinematography, it is clear that “Get Out” is truly a masterpiece. In addition to the themes of race and the tension between black and white characters, the questions that arise from attempting to unpack the film in its entirety speak to its value.
Film can be used as more than entertainment or as a tool for reinforcing the realities we experience every day. It can be easy to laugh and cry along with films and even easier to stray away from films that break the “norm” of popular culture.
When controversial films are released or discussed, often the conversation is limited.
For example: “Oh, that was offensive,” “Most definitely” isn’t a constructive conversation.
Difficult conversations are hard to have regarding any subject, but topics like identity and race relations can be even more difficult.
Thankfully, films like “Get Out” can serve as a catalyst for them. Even if you’re offended by the nature of the film or some of its implications, you can still have a conversation about it and see if there are other groups of people that may have felt similarly.
For example, one of my favorite movies is “Imitation of Life.” I was introduced to it during a first year seminar, Masquerades of Blackness, and it rocked my world. Outside of the main conflict between the main character and her daughter, the underlying themes of servitude and exploitation struck me. The same concepts and ideas in a movie from 1934 are situations that I see and experience every day.
In an interview, the director of “Get Out,” Jordan Peele, said he was inspired to write the film after Obama was elected. He said after his election, we entered an era of what he calls a “post-racial lie.”
He describes it as a time when the issue of race, a monster, was “simmering under the surface of the country” for a while.