Get Out (2017)
February 25, 2017 8:41 PM - Subscribe

A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend's mysterious family estate.

Peele's directorial debut isn't sketch comedy, but a darkly funny and acerbic horror film that is a mix between The Stepford Wives and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Trailer | Rotten Tomatoes | MetaCritic
posted by too bad you're not me (115 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Just came home from seeing this and holy crap, someone please give Jordan Peele a development deal with full creative freedom because DAMN.
posted by palomar at 9:34 PM on February 25 [23 favorites]


someone please give Jordan Peele a development deal with full creative freedom because DAMN.

He signed one (or at least announced it) on Friday. Seeing the movie tomorrow afternoon!
posted by bluecore at 9:36 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Saw this last night. Some thoughts:

* Scary, funny, and well-paced. The audience I saw it with was laughing aloud especially at the race-related things white characters said to Chris -- the father's "so great to learn more about other cultures" line, the art dealer's "now I don't truck with that sort of thing myself" line near the end, etc. And -- as Peele discusses -- yeah, audience members yelled "Get out! Run!" especially once Chris started the process of leaving (packing). And we were straight up cheering Chris's self-defense at the end.

* I did not expect that Rose would be in on it -- even once we saw the photos, I suppose I thought she might have been hypnotized to forget those folks. So chilling! When Chris is trying to choke her and she tells him she's sorry and she loves him, and he seems to lose the force in his arms and hands, do you think that's also a hypnotic suggestion thing? I think it's also a reminder about the double-edged nature of loving someone more powerful than you -- sometimes their love can protect you (as with the cop early in the movie), and sometimes your love can stop you from protecting yourself.

* Rod as awesome audience stand-in who says GET OUT from the start and correctly predicts what is happening and sleuths around and tries going to cops and doesn't give up and rescues Chris! So great.

* I did not expect things to go so Being John Malkovich (the presence of Catherine Keener in both as a manipulative taker of other people's minds is a strong echo).

* I don't quite have the words for this, but: the fact that Chris is a photographer, and it's the flash of a camera that causes the hypnotized people to return to themselves, makes me think about how we need to be able to see each other and be seen in order to remember who we are and not just be constrained by what powerful forces tell us we are. Which, as a "representation matters" argument, accords with what I know of Peele as an entertainer and an artist.

* Microsoft product placement! Windows phone, Surface tablet, Bing, anything else anyone noticed?

* Like Dr. Strange this is a genre film whose plot hinges on a breach of medical ethics.

* Did anyone get a sense of where in the US this was meant to be taking place?
posted by brainwane at 1:03 PM on February 26 [20 favorites]


Did anyone get a sense of where in the US this was meant to be taking place?

I suspect Connecticut or upstate NY, since they referenced Andre being from Brooklyn in the newspaper articles, although apparently the movie was shot in Alabama.

I really enjoyed it overall, but the one thing I had questions about was the grandparents being inside Georgina and the groundskeeper (I forget his name). Do they do chores all the time, or just when they have a target staying in the house?

It seemed like they had two separate ideas - one was that the targets are used as free help/slaves (or even sex slaves if that was the case with the missing musician Andre) and other idea was they're replacement bodies for the old/blind who can be identified by their brain surgery scars. Maybe one idea was from an early draft but they kept it in anyway? I'm just wondering if the "grandparents" drop the pretense of doing all the housework when a target isn't around, because otherwise that's not a very good deal for rejuvenation.
posted by bluecore at 1:26 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]




I really enjoyed it overall, but the one thing I had questions about was the grandparents being inside Georgina and the groundskeeper (I forget his name). Do they do chores all the time, or just when they have a target staying in the house?

It seemed like they had two separate ideas - one was that the targets are used as free help/slaves (or even sex slaves if that was the case with the missing musician Andre) and other idea was they're replacement bodies for the old/blind who can be identified by their brain surgery scars. Maybe one idea was from an early draft but they kept it in anyway? I'm just wondering if the "grandparents" drop the pretense of doing all the housework when a target isn't around, because otherwise that's not a very good deal for rejuvenation.


Through most of the movie I thought Georgina, Andre, and Walter were basically puppets, controlled by the various people around them. It wasn't until they started brain surgery on Stephen Root that I realized it was supposed to be a full-body transplant. My boyfriend complained after the movie that Georgina and Walter's actions throughout the movie were more consistent with zombie-puppets than with body-transplant grandparents. In retrospect, though, I can explain away the insane awkwardness with your second explanation -- that the grandparents only pretend to be servants when a new target is around. So they're pretty awkward when they're pretending not only to be servants but also black. It doesn't explain away everything, but given the overall tone of the movie it makes sense to me that old white people pretending to be black would come across more like zombies than real people.

I loved all of the prop decisions in this movie. The hilariously inept people playing badminton in the background, Jeremy using a lacrosse stick to attack Chris, the foosball and ping pong tables in the torture/rec room -- everything was pitch perfect. Nothing, though, felt so thoroughly banality of evil than Allison Williams eating dry Froot Loops, one at a time, and then drinking milk through a straw.
posted by lilac girl at 2:08 PM on February 26 [28 favorites]


Microsoft product placement! Windows phone, Surface tablet, Bing, anything else anyone noticed?

Not Microsoft but I think when the guests arrived they were riding in Lincolns. Perhaps a different historical significance than, say, Benzes or Cadillacs.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:30 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Lots of thoughts about this movie -- I thoroughly enjoyed it -- but for now I'll just stick with a question: what was the deal with the auction scene? Like, I understood that an auction was taking place, but I didn't really get what the bingo cards and hand motions were about... Anyone know?
posted by too bad you're not me at 5:41 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


The bingo cards are just stand ins for auction paddles. I don't think there's any significance in the pattern of dots on the bingo cards, because that'd be a bit too complex to convey in such a short scene.

The fact that it was also a silent auction is just to build suspense. It made the audience engage their brains. Also any dialog which made it explicit that they were bidding on the body would hit the historic lightening rod of slavery and just serve as a "record scratch" in the flow of the story. So the writer handled it well.

In hind sight, maybe the bingo cards were just added mystery. Precisely to make you wonder more about them instead of stopping after receiving the main message and having the whole thing seem too blunt/simple/plain.
posted by ecco at 6:04 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


The fact that it was also a silent auction is just to build suspense. It made the audience engage their brains. Also any dialog which made it explicit that they were bidding on the body would hit the historic lightening rod of slavery and just serve as a "record scratch" in the flow of the story. So the writer handled it well.

Yes, it was suspenseful, but I'm just now realizing they were having a silent auction where one of the participants was a blind man. I can't remember if they showed his assistant whispering the bids in his ear.
posted by bluecore at 6:47 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


If we want to get picky, no doctor declared the character completely unable to see, and he easily could have been "legally blind" but able to perceive basic shapes and movement.
posted by idiopath at 7:27 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


sometimes their love can protect you (as with the cop early in the movie)

My take on that scene was that Rose didn't want to take a chance that a cop would recognize Chris's name when he was reported missing. Like the rest of her actions, it was pure self-interest masked as love.

It seemed like they had two separate ideas - one was that the targets are used as free help/slaves (or even sex slaves if that was the case with the missing musician Andre)

Andre's not a sex slave, though--he's the older woman's husband and they are both enjoying his new young body. If the grandparents are pretending to be servants, which makes sense, then it's all a consistent old-brain-in-new-body thing.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:42 PM on February 26 [17 favorites]


The more I thought about this movie after seeing it, the more I liked it. I don't see a lot of movies, so maybe this isn't unique, but I loved how nothing in this movie seemed superfluous. So many things that seemed to be said or done offhandedly are revealed to be more sinister:

When Rose "protects" Chris from the police she's really protecting herself. And when they are on the phone in the car with Rod, Chris tells him to get his own girlfriend after a playful exchange with Rose. Rose then uses that to deflect and deter Rod when she finds him closing in on the danger that Chris is in.

When Rose hit the deer and Chris had to go look at it dying on the side of the road, it was because that sort of thing reminds him of his mother's death. The father hates the deer, and says the only good deer is a dead deer, only to be killed by a dead dear later. Chris has to go back for the hit grandmother, even though he's trying to escape. And, then, finally at the end he is able to, with difficulty, leave Rose bleeding out on the road

The grandpa losing to Jesse Owens, never getting over it, and then running around and chopping wood in his stolen black body. When we see the father talking about Hitler's misguided thoughts about the Aryan race, it sounds like he is saying things in a positive (if heavy-handed and awkward) way, but really he doesn't care about the personhood of Jesse Owens, only his physical superiority.

The blind art dealer, at first, seems to have more progressive attitudes to race. But in the end he does not care for Chris as a person, rather, only as a means to get what he wants, a gifted eye for photography.

Seeing this as a white guy with my black fiance led to a great discussion that lasted the car ride home, periodically through the evening, and even to the next morning. I had to catch myself from saying something like, "those old white people were so over the top in how weird they were being around Chris, admiring his muscles, talking about how dark skin is fashionable. He should have known something was wrong." My fiance assured me that, yes, she has been in situations like that. It makes me realize how flippantly white people can dismiss racism and prejudice because they don't experience it.

You can tell that Jordan Peele has so many thoughts about this subject as someone with a black father and white mother, and as someone with a white wife expecting their first child. He made an entertaining movie with a lot of stuff to chew on.
posted by Regal Ox Inigo at 5:41 AM on February 27 [42 favorites]


Andre's not a sex slave, though--he's the older woman's husband and they are both enjoying his new young body. If the grandparents are pretending to be servants, which makes sense, then it's all a consistent old-brain-in-new-body thing.

I think that was more about having two ideas for the script? Like, there was a draft when the "servants" really were brainwashed servants, and the final script kept scenes from that version while changing the ultimate explanation for what was going on, so the foreshadowing doesn't quite fit.

Anyway, holy crap what a great movie. Really well-put-together (Jordan Peele is an amazing director), the stars nailed it -- although when you cast Bradley Whitford and Stephen Root as creepily WASPy characters most of that job is done -- and the mix of suspense, comedy and outright horror was spot on.

Nothing, though, felt so thoroughly banality of evil than Allison Williams eating dry Froot Loops, one at a time, and then drinking milk through a straw.

SO MUCH AGREE. I had to restrain my laughter through that sequence because stalking top basketball players while eating deconstructed breakfast cereal is the perfect intersection of creepy serial killer and obnoxious New York white hipster.
.....also, I just got the cereal/serial pun that I'm now certain was a deliberate choice.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:07 AM on February 27 [14 favorites]


I saw this last night and loved it. That said, I feel like the trailer's really ended up giving way too much away. I saw a few trailers and the ones that kept it buttoned down were great, but I seeing the dad in scrubs for instance really gave the game away. I wish they'd stop doing that, but I guess given that Get Out had a great box office take and I ended up seeing it means that there's not exactly an incentive not to do it.
posted by Carillon at 11:43 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


I think that was more about having two ideas for the script? Like, there was a draft when the "servants" really were brainwashed servants, and the final script kept scenes from that version while changing the ultimate explanation for what was going on, so the foreshadowing doesn't quite fit.

This is one of the most tightly-scripted movies I've seen in a long time, and I can't imagine there was a major course correction like this during production. In any case, what's going on seems pretty clear. The "servants" are playing a part for Chris' sake; they seem weird because they're actually very old white people. Mostly. But as the art dealer explained to Chris, there's still a part of the original person's consciousness present in the hijacked bodies. At times of stress -- the flashes, Georgina being called out in a lie -- the original consciousness can briefly, if not completely, reassert itself.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:10 PM on February 27 [14 favorites]


Regal Oz Inigo-

Building off your analysis when Rose says "I will always fight for my man" after the encounter with the cop, it initially seems like a playful admission of her protectiveness of him. Of course, later we see that statement literally play out as she turns into a terminator-like embodiment of white privilege.

I think Rose, in terms of her representation osf white liberals is she's willing to make token gestures, but when it comes to the bigger things...well not so much. In terms of Rose, the movie depicts regarding her, the naive liberal, as "harmless" as a deeply dangerous. Ignoring the threat she presents is what keeps Chris at the house for so long.And so I think part of the message is to advise caution in terms of regarding white liberals as naively harmless.
posted by miss-lapin at 2:11 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


So at the end when "Grandpa" picks up the gun and says "let me handle this" and he shoots Rose, a black guy behind us stood up in the theater and shouted THAT'S RIGHT!!!

Less than a second later, the whole theater erupted in hysterical laughter and we drowned out the scene with applause. It was a mixed crowd heavily weighted towards the whiter end of the spectrum, but still, it's like he read everyone's minds.

It's been a tense three months -- y'all know exactly why! -- and holy god, did I need to see this film. I hope everyone sees it and doesn't dismiss it as "just" a scary movie or "just" a commentary on race in the United States.

Jordan Peele is a goddamned American treasure. I heard him say in a radio interview that he would not cast himself in this film specifically because he wanted people to see it and take it seriously, as a horror genre film, and one that was chock-full of references that horror fans would go crazy over.

He worried seeing him in a role would auto-switch everyone's brains over to "oh, this is a comedy/horror film, like Scary Movie" and he absolutely didn't want that to be how people perceived the film.

Honestly, it gave me a lot of Wicker Man and Invasion of the Body Snatchers vibes. LOVED IT! And let's be real, if Blind Art Dealer guy had just gotten to keep his red stapler nearly 20 years ago, maybe he could've avoided that whole mess with the Bingo auction.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:19 PM on February 27 [21 favorites]


OK just for fun here are the horror tropes I caught:

- "dangerous key fumble" (variant: can't get them from the secretly evil character)

- rule of scary

- The Family That Slays Together

- Town With a Dark Secret

- The Symbiote

- Ehhhhh Safety in Muggles is questionable -- it really depends on if you're willing to argue whether Ron is a Muggle or not. Like, Ron is obviously woke but cloaks as the bad local police on the drive-up.

- Auction of Evil

- Keeper of Knowledge

- Ominously Open Door

I'm sure I missed a few, but dang. Many more than just "if you've ever yelled get out dude, they're going to kill you" at a movie in frustration, then this is your film. :)
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:49 PM on February 27


kittens for breakfast: This is one of the most tightly-scripted movies I've seen in a long time, and I can't imagine there was a major course correction like this during production. In any case, what's going on seems pretty clear.

To be fair, every project goes through multiple drafts, either on the page or in the editing bay. Now that I have an early draft of the script in front of me, the original ending had Rose in scrubs instead of her brother, the strangle scene inside, no antler death, the brother shooting at the car, and two real cops pulling up instead of Rod. The ending was Chris in a maximum security prison, unable to prove his innocence. Not as much an "audience cheering" ending, so all completely understandable changes!
posted by bluecore at 7:19 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


I was 95% convinced the cop who pulled up at the end would be the one from earlier in the film who asked for Chris's license. I was preparing myself for the film to get that dark and was so relieved when it was Rod.
posted by lilac girl at 7:27 PM on February 27 [11 favorites]


I thought at first that Georgina, Andre and Walter had been turned into robots à la Stepford Wives.

The acorn streetlights look like LA's.
posted by brujita at 11:23 AM on February 28


SPOILERS FOR KEANU *

*A film that, really, you should see if you enjoyed this one

I wonder if the ending was changed because it's so similar to the ending of Keanu, with our heroes in prison. The prison sentence is played for laughs there, but to me it was the one thing that didn't work (jail is not funny, and our heroes deserved better). Maybe Peele didn't think the ending of Keanu was right, either, or maybe he just felt like he'd already done that ending. The ending of Get Out is the most sketch-comedy feeling part of the movie, but Chris (and the audience) have earned a break by then, I think.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:30 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


While Chris and the audience earned a break, I think the movie has to end with Chris and Rod escaping because the whole premise of Armitage is that while African Americans have physical superiority, they don't have the intellectual talents of a white person. That Rodney is able to put this together is subverts that theory by showing a black dude out witting an entire enclave of white people. And keep in mind, even when Rose tries to seduce Rodney, SHE FAILS. He accurately realizes what she is trying to do, even though his response to it is...well, understandable, but not effective.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:00 PM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Andre's not a sex slave, though--he's the older woman's husband and they are both enjoying his new young body.

Except he's actually BOTH, because Andre is still in there, forced to watch helplessly while his body is used as a sextoy by the people who stole his life from him. There under the surface. Helpless, immobile. I thought it was a fascinating revisiting of Dahmer's victims, actually.

Relatedly, I wondered if Georgina was the one opening the closet door over and over until Chris opened the photo box-- maybe she was able to do it without Grandma realizing?
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:25 PM on March 1 [22 favorites]


I don't usually watch horror films, so this was a stressful but amazing movie for me to watch! The ending was so intense that I wanted the final moments to offer little bit more comic relief than just a joke about the TSA, but on further reflection it was an appropriate amount of humor, especially since Rod pulling up was already sketch-comedy-esque enough.

The scene where Chris is going through Rose's photos and realizes he is one in a long line of black people... that really hit home for me.

Also: so, was it the flash specifically that would allow the original person's consciousness to snap back in place for a brief moment, as opposed to taking any photograph? Chris kept stopping short of photographing both the groundskeeper and the maid (grandma and grandpa) with his DSLR-- was there a specific reason for that?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 10:35 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


This is a little thing, but Daniel Kaluuya's facial expressions as he indulges everybody's variously awkward and inappropriate conversational gambits are priceless. Kaluuya and Peele nailed the weary familiarity of facing people who think they're original, or cool, or just entitled to probe at you, because you want to be polite, because these people are close to someone you love, and because anyway resistance will be futile (at best). Watching Chris decide to be polite over and over again was amazing.

Also: so, was it the flash specifically that would allow the original person's consciousness to snap back in place for a brief moment, as opposed to taking any photograph? Chris kept stopping short of photographing both the groundskeeper and the maid (grandma and grandpa) with his DSLR-- was there a specific reason for that?

I think the flash short-circuited the occupier, enabling the suppressed original consciousness to take control. When Chris stopped himself from photographing Georgina or Walt, it felt partially like he wasn't sure how they'd react and also partially like he might have been reluctant to inadvertently make them into props in photos of the estate.

I'm glad they gave Chris a happy(ish) ending. It was bad enough to realize at the end that all the Armitages' previous victims were still trapped.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 12:07 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Still have a lot of thoughts about this movie. My (white) SO pointed out that he was amazed at how long it took Chris to realize that he had to get out of the place, because he kept minimizing/dismissing/second-guessing his uneasy feelings. He (my SO) said he felt that was similar to how he has seen the way I would generally inwardly second-guess my interactions within white communities and generally keep hanging around uncomfortably instead of explicitly taking issue with things and/or leaving the second things felt off. Well, because yeah, the horror of racism lies in its insidiousness, seamlessness, and pervasiveness. Of course the instrument for inducing hypnosis was a proper cup of tea. That was perfect. Everything was ostensibly socially correct and pleasant up to the last minute when Rose couldn't and then later wouldn't fish the keys out from her bag; for PoC, existing in a white space is uneasy all the time but also appears officially "okay" until it just obviously, overtly, really isn't.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 4:13 PM on March 2 [28 favorites]


That ruled. The metaphor worked especially well for Root's character, since claiming to be above it all yet wanting to be able to presume to share in the black experience is one of the more subtle and pernicious forms of white liberal racism. I'm eager to see what else Peele comes up with, because it looks like he's just starting to stretch his legs as a filmmaker.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:53 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


I really liked this movie, however, I was surprised when it turned out it wasn't about white people trying to "help" black people by brainwashing them.
posted by soplerfo at 8:21 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


soplerfo: I think the movie is about exploitation in the setting of naive white liberalism and not only naive white liberalism alone. I think that's why the black individuals are abducted and used, physically, to rejuvenate these elderly white folk. They exist only nominally, as a shell, perhaps even admired superficially for their "genetic gifts" and whatever other stereotypes they evoke, but are in fact forever relegated to a secondary ("sunken") place.

Also: anyone notice how there was a Japanese-American man amongst all the white attendees of the sham party? What are your thoughts on that? Does it reflect the (personally, I think toxic) idea (and I think this has been discussed elsewhere on mefi) that Asians are "honorary whites"?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 8:15 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I very much doubt it was a coincidence. Asians are (a) the "model minority" and (b) a group stereotyped as exceptionally smart rather than physically gifted (unless they're ninjas) so it makes perfect sense that a group dedicated to putting superior white brains into black bodies would make an exception for Asian brains.

The metaphor worked especially well for Root's character, since claiming to be above it all yet wanting to be able to presume to share in the black experience is one of the more subtle and pernicious forms of white liberal racism.

Yeah, I think it was really smart to have the guy who was going to take over Chris' body be literally unable to see race (or anything else!). He just wanted the ability to see rather than overtly fetishizing blackness like most of the partygoers, but was still perfectly happy to hitch his wagon to the Armitages' white power mad science -- and, of course, enslave Chris -- to achieve his goal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:06 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


One thing I sort of held my nose over was the whole hypnosis trope. Not the idea or execution of the sunken place, as that was just fine. It's more the whole idea of instant suggestion and paralysis that turns me off, but in this case I am going to just assume the teacup had its own mysterious powers related to the Order somehow instead. Maybe drugs too.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:45 AM on March 3


(Yes, I'm aware of the substitution of disbelief suspension there but I need magical coherence dammit.)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 AM on March 3


My understanding of this movie continued to grow as I walked away from the theater. It was a series of exclamations like:

"OH! That's what all those conversations at the party were about - sussing out if he would be a good candidate for their brains before the auction"

and

"Oh my god Rose alters her style of dress to best fit in within her current mark. She was artsy and kind of a hippie with Chris, but when that charade ended she went full on preppy"

and

"Oh god, are those other people going to be saved? Can they be saved?" I mean I think for the people trapped there, the best case scenario is getting an opportunity to kill themselves during a brief moment of control. There is no up side for the others trapped by the Armitages.

I also wonder what experiments the grandparents did on their own family. They mentioned testing out their theories on their own family.
posted by Julnyes at 12:51 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


One thing I sort of held my nose over was the whole hypnosis trope. Not the idea or execution of the sunken place, as that was just fine. It's more the whole idea of instant suggestion and paralysis that turns me off, but in this case I am going to just assume the teacup had its own mysterious powers related to the Order somehow instead. Maybe drugs too.

It is literally a weaponized SILVER SPOON, and her artful use of it robs black men of their agency and selves. See also: our entire judicial system.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:59 PM on March 3 [35 favorites]


Gah, of course. Thank you.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:02 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I don't see what was so confusing about the brain-transplant grandparents being the servants on the estate because that's what I assume such old folk would want to do anyway once they attain the banality of immortality. Mindlessly take care of their house, which grandma screams at Chris for wrecking, not her family.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:53 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


"Sink into the floor."

*shudders*
posted by Atom Eyes at 7:37 AM on March 5


The grandparents are definitely putting on an act. They are pretending to be servants and are therefore super awkward about it. Because they are old and of course racist and don't know how to act like "real" servants in their own home. The grandfather "almost got over" being bested by Jesse Owens. So not only is he an insane creeper about Chris but he's showing off for him, too. "See what I can do, black kid?"

Georgina has several cracking moments where the real person is coming through. I like the idea that her inner self was opening the closet door to help him find the answer.

I want to expound more on the fetishizing of black bodies and the history of athleticism in America and link it to football and politics and capatialism and the goddamn patriarchy as these are all themes that have been swimming around in my head the past several years but I don't think I can make it coherent. So I'll keep thinking about it because this was a really great movie.

Last thing: the casting in this movie was so...impossibly good. Marnie? Fucking Marnie is the girlfriend?! I was WTF-ing this choice from the first moment she came on screen and then I gradually let it drop for willing suspension of disbelief and sort of bought in to how it likely came to be and then the ending is just a smash right in her face and if that isn't a complete and satisfying arc, I don't know what is. I'm sure Allison Williams was enthusiastic to play this role but that is a very, very harsh light to stand in.
posted by amanda at 11:22 AM on March 5 [6 favorites]


The metaphor worked especially well for Root's character, since claiming to be above it all yet wanting to be able to presume to share in the black experience is one of the more subtle and pernicious forms of white liberal racism.

Yes, and (I just realized when I read this comment) - usually expressed through some variation on 'I don't see color.'
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:06 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


This movie was fantastic -- I'm still thinking about it. I liked the breakdowns of the symbolism on VH1 and Buzzfeed (picking cotton to save himself?! I didn't even think about that!) and would LOVE to hear from MeFites about anything else you noticed (like the silver spoon mentioned upthread).

What do you guys think about Rose answering the phone for Rod towards the end? Why did she bother picking up?
posted by knownassociate at 9:53 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


What do you guys think about Rose answering the phone for Rod towards the end? Why did she bother picking up?

I kind of figured she thought he might be an easy mark-- offer him sex, get him out to the estate, saves all the effort of crafting a hipster persona and being the perfect girlfriend for several months.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:12 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


That totally makes sense. I feel like the flirting with him on the phone in the car ride probably had something to do with that, too, eh?
posted by knownassociate at 10:40 AM on March 6


Also, if Chris would have told anybody about his misgivings it'd have been Rod, so she probably wanted to be sure that he didn't know anything concrete before cutting him off completely.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:43 AM on March 6


Oh right, there's that moment where she says, after he tells her he went to the police, "What did you tell them...?"
posted by knownassociate at 10:58 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Oh my God, this was such a good movie. So layered and nuanced--the more you dig in, the more you find.

I really recommend everyone read this dialogue about the movie, and then read all the linked essays at the bottom of it.

A few thoughts in no particular order:
  • Immediately after watching the movie one of my friends said for the movie to be "realistic" it should've shown Rose with more women in her trophy box, and it was tremendously frustrating trying to convey that the disproportionate "roping" of Black men versus women was part of the point. At the time I sputtered out "Black women know better than to fuck with that". The point I was trying to make was that Black men and Black women have always had very different relationships with White women . . . Both experience the dangerous entitlement of White womanhood, but Black men are disproportionately inculcated with the idea that becoming romantically entangled with a White woman is an achievement, whereas Black women just get to experience the White entitlement and being told by a White supremacist society they're never going to be as feminine or pretty or good as a White woman. That doesn't even get into the different ways Black male and female bodies are perceived by White supremacy.
  • The inclusion of the single Asian character was a perfect tip of the hat to the sometimes-unwitting, sometimes-conscious participation of Asians in the characterization of Asians as a "model minority". While Peele mainly focused on White-Black relations, that character was his acknowledgement that the history of race relations was far more fraught than just between those two.
  • I assumed from the trailers that it was about brainwashing. Once it was revealed the surgery was for transplantation I was bowled over by how much more brilliant and relevant that was than simple brainwashing. Like, so much of how White culture defines "cool" and "artistic" is centered on styles and art forms first created by Black people . . . and yet we're more likely to reward White people who perform those art forms than the Black artists who created them. Peele illustrates the most literal interpretation of this: White people puppeteering Black bodies in a poor imitation of the original, while the Black soul trapped inside watches helplessly.

I have a lot more but everything else is already said on that essay I linked above and the essays linked in it. Such a good good good good movie.
posted by schroedinger at 12:41 PM on March 6 [24 favorites]


Immediately after watching the movie one of my friends said for the movie to be "realistic" it should've shown Rose with more women in her trophy box....

I vaguely thought about this as well but I mentally filed that in with the benefits of the patriarchy. Common: older man paired with younger woman (even if only a year or two), women live longer than their spouses, men have no problem paying good money for things which benefit themselves. They make the money, they buy the toys, they expect that the universe will catch them if they get in over their heads. I assumed that this procedure cost a lot of money – they have to buy their new body, after all. So, the dudes avail themselves of this and the women hope that when their time comes, they will get their own new body... if their younger, blacker man doesn't leave them in the lurch. Me first, baby.
posted by amanda at 12:58 PM on March 6


It does have to do with the patriarchy, but not so much with youth and beauty as it does with the devaluation of Black women's bodies compared to that of Black men. As well as the fact that Rose would've had a hell of a lot harder time convincing a Black woman of her good intentions than she a would a Black man. This movie's feminism was explicitly intersectional and focused on the racial aspects.

One of the things I keep coming back to is how every detail, every image in this movie was so carefully considered by Peele. I would love to read about his creative process and what he's like to work with as a director.
posted by schroedinger at 1:30 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Just saw this last night. I loved it and I'm loving the discussion here. Lots of things I didn't even have time to process yet and are so on point when you think about them.

One thing I noted was that unlike a lot of horror movies with a science background, Peele didn't bother explaining the actual mechanics of how the brain transplant worked. At first I was really curious at the end of the movie, and then I realized it didn't matter at all. Most of these movies actually show the process of a successful one, and usually emphasizes a step in the process that the protagonist later utilizes to save themselves or reverses it for another, and that is where a lot of the plot can get bogged down, in explaining the fictional mechanics. What I liked here was that he just didn't bother, because it's just not necessary. It's a simple concept, but ingenious when you put it in the context of so many other horror/thriller films.
posted by numaner at 3:34 PM on March 6


I'm guessing those candles in the operating room had something to do with the Cohagula procedure (like they would both stare at them before the flames joined or something). Because, you know...wtf are candles doing there otherwise?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:44 PM on March 6


Took me a bit to get why he didn't kill Rose, but that was brilliant. He went back for Georgina because she didn't deserve to die alone in the street like his mother; he left Rose there because she did.

This movie was great.
posted by johnofjack at 5:27 PM on March 6 [13 favorites]


He went back for Georgina because she didn't deserve to die alone in the street like his mother; he left Rose there because she did.

Did you see that creepy smile she was giving him as he strangled her, too? I wonder if that wasn't part of what brought him to that conclusion--he realized he was satisfying her expectations of what The Scary Black Man would act like, and chose to leave her instead (which is an infinitely more cruel fate, I think). One commentary on VSB complained this was indicative of Black men protecting White women to the last, but I think (and many responses in the comments) it's the opposite. He gave her the worst possible fate.

Also, I was terrified throughout the whole movie that we'd get a Night of the Living Dead ending where the police would shoot Chris in the end, and Rod coming to the rescue in that TSA car was so deeply cathartic. In one of the interviews Peele said an actual policeman rescuing Rose and shooting Chris was the first ending he thought of, and I'm so glad that's not how he concluded it. Yeah, it's more realistic--but he didn't actually need to end it that way to channel the same effect. At least where I watched it, a deep sense of dread and disappointment filled the whole theater as soon as those flashing lights pulled up and we got the closeup on Rose's face. Everyone knew what was going to happen next--and the fact that it didn't was so, so desperately needed.
posted by schroedinger at 6:15 PM on March 6 [20 favorites]


The whole theater burst out laughing when Chris started choking Rose after she played the "I love you card".
posted by Burhanistan at 8:13 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Awfully late in the thread, but I've been wondering about Rose's name. In one version of the Grimm fairy tale, Snow White had a sister named Rose Red.
posted by QuakerMel at 8:32 AM on March 7


Did you see that creepy smile she was giving him as he strangled her, too?

I assume it's because she saw the flashing police lights that we, the viewer, had yet to see.

She's thinking the exact same thing we are when those lights appear.
posted by absalom at 2:40 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


So I just saw this and the lights went out in my theater, and in my whole town, just as Rose started to smile as Chris choked her. Yup. The speakers popped loudly and then it went pitch black. We all thought that's how the movie ended for a while. The lights never came back on and it was incredibly unsettling.
posted by moons in june at 10:04 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


To follow up on the discussion about Yasushiko Oyama's role up thread...

It was only after the end of the movie that I got why Yasushiko Oyama's character was asking Chris about his experience as an African American. In fact, at the end all the weirdly racist comments at the party made a lot more sense when you realized that this wasn't a family event but a group of people shopping for a new body. So all the white people are just thinking about the possible ways they can use Chris' body but the asian guy is the only one clued in to the fact that he may have a different experience of the world if he winds ups inhabiting the body of a young black man.
posted by rdr at 10:56 PM on March 7 [19 favorites]


Saw it last night with my son.
What a great film. So many things that weren't spoon-fed but let you figure it out on your own, like what is with this Bingo scene? then later OH FUCK IT WAS AN AUCTION and then you feel like of course it was.
And as people have said above, I wasn't relieved when the cop car showed up; I thought, fuck this, Chris is going to get shot or tazed. Such a huge YAY moment in the theatre when that was not the case.
I also had the sense that Jordan Peele was really versed in the old paranoia school of horror, specifically the vibe of Rosemary's Baby and old Twilight Zone episodes. Very clever.
posted by chococat at 9:13 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Who would have ever thought that seeing the word "Airport" on a car door could make an entire theater full of people cheer and applaud?

What an incredible relief that was.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:32 AM on March 9 [10 favorites]


I'm guessing those candles in the operating room had something to do with the Cohagula procedure (like they would both stare at them before the flames joined or something). Because, you know...wtf are candles doing there otherwise?

Were they the same candlesticks that Dean pointed out when he was giving Chris a tour of the house? He said they'd picked them up on travel and used them as an example of how great it is to experience other cultures, so it makes sense they'd come back during the Cultural Appropriation Brain Surgery. I was waiting for them to show up as a weapon during the rampage, and totally missed that there were candles in the operating room.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:07 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I was waiting for them to show up as a weapon during the rampage, and totally missed that there were candles in the operating room.

I thought the candles were hilarious. I think it was more of a..."White people...am I right?" sort of thing. Like, of course, let's dress this up with some creepy-ass candles!
posted by amanda at 1:06 PM on March 9


Another vote for Rose's creepy smile = Chris confirming her views of black men.

Thought it was perfect that the art dealer was in it to steal Chris' artistic talent for his own use.
posted by CMcG at 1:01 PM on March 11


Finally saw it last night, and was just blown away by it. A few thoughts:

- I loved how Chris and Rose were introduced at the beginning. It was really a perfect opening: the Childish Gambino song, with the chorus of "Stay Woke" tells you that this is going to be a movie about race, but also, literally staying woke. Chris is introduced via the beautiful photos of black people he takes, and Rose is introduced looking at cronuts in a hip bakery, setting us up to see her as a clueless but harmless "basic" white girl (which of course is subverted later). Just a really good opening, and also sort of tells you to play close attention, that this is going to be a movie that tells you a lot with visual cues or what seem like throwaway details.

-The actress who plays Georgina was SO GOOD. That "no no no no" scene, how many emotions did that character(s) cycle through in 10 seconds?

- Everyone in my theater clapped when the police car turned out to be Rod. That was a great moment. Also, did folks notice that when the car stopped, Rose said "Help!" She knew her power in that moment.
posted by lunasol at 3:46 PM on March 11 [8 favorites]


(or rather, she thought she knew!)
posted by lunasol at 5:06 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Saw this last night. It's fun and well-made but it felt a little too small.

I think it'll be worth a second viewing for the little things. A lot of good moments have been pointed out... Another is when when Chris first meets Rose's parents and the dad won't shut up saying embarrassing things, and Rose jokes, "Does he have an off button?" Or when one of the guests tells Chris how black people are popular and Rose gives him a "What the fuck is your problem?" look that works both ways.

All the performances were good to great, except Catherine Keener who went a little too bland and never un-blanded really.

I agree with a lot of the appreciation above, so what remains is more critical:

1. There's not quite enough matchup between the behavior of Georgina and Walter and Logan and the later reveal that they're more possessed than brainwashed. Why does Georgina spill the tea? Why is she often standing robotically giving weird looks? Why does Walter run straight at Chris? These can be nerdsplained, but IMHO not satisfactorily enough to make it go away entirely. It just leads to more questions and maybe more things the film should have shown, puzzling stuff Chris should have overheard or seen. Does the Coagula procedure just not work that well?

The end result is that it feels, a little bit, like they kinda oversold the fakeout, and neglected the much better weirdness/horror.

2. The bingo auction was bad. I hated that they had a big portrait of Chris there. I felt like that was the only really like clumsy wrong note in the movie.

3. So yeah Chris was glued to the TV when he was little; his sunken world is similar. Even his profession is seeing the world at remove, through a tiny rectangle. There is a small theme of conquering his passivity, but I wanted it to be more. Is he well adjusted and sane and successful, as he seems almost all the time, or is he easy pickings for Rose since she's the only thing he's got in his life as he says later? His photos are beautiful and true-seeing and challenging, but shouldn't they be kind of indirect and leaving things out, so he grows during the movie? Maybe he should have some propensity to get distracted, like looking out a window, having trouble meeting people's eyes. He shouldn't be staring at the deer as it dies, he should be staring at something else right? Maybe Rose needed to goad him a little, and in his breakdown moment turn his chin with her hand and say, "Look at me." Shouldn't Chris have seen Georgina on the road framed in the rear view mirror?

I like it as a theme I just thought it needed to be folded into the dough more, I guess.
posted by fleacircus at 10:04 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I kind of disagree entirely with everything there. It just feels like a bit of a pedantic hot-take. I'll address one of them, at least, that I thought was kind of obvious on my second watch tonight.

Why does Georgina spill the tea?Why does Georgina spill the tea?

It happens while the mother is actually stirring her actual sweet tea and hits the rim of her glass with her silver spoon. She realizes what she's done and quickly corrects it, another moment of caution we don't notice because of how we view the interaction between them all without proper context.

In fact, on the second watch I'm taken by how much I feel is actually revealed by knowing the twist in the end. It's not a cheap trick at all - just the opposite. Every single line delivered by every single character, near enough, has a different context once you know the score.

Like, the most obvious to me is the off-putting awkward lines and deliverei of the three hijacked bodies we see would read totally differently coming from seventy year old white grandparents, particularly all Doc Senior's creepy leering or the show-model's weird enthusiasm.

Is he well adjusted and sane and successful, as he seems almost all the time, or is he easy pickings for Rose since she's the only thing he's got in his life as he says later? His photos are beautiful and true-seeing and challenging, but shouldn't they be kind of indirect and leaving things out, so he grows during the movie? Maybe he should have some propensity to get distracted, like looking out a window, having trouble meeting people's eyes. He shouldn't be staring at the deer as it dies, he should be staring at something else right? Maybe Rose needed to goad him a little, and in his breakdown moment turn his chin with her hand and say, "Look at me." Shouldn't Chris have seen Georgina on the road framed in the rear view mirror?

I just can't wrap my head around this entire line of thought, so I'm quoting it for perplexity. I just don't see why these are any better decisions than the ones the author actually made.
posted by absalom at 8:52 PM on March 12 [11 favorites]


From The Ringer interviewing Peele:
Fennessey: The decision to not have Chris kill Rose at the end seemed very specific as well. What was the thinking behind that, and was it ever different?

Peele: Yeah. I had every version of the script. To me, the one that we used is the right one. I was questioned about it, in the making. I want to stick with my guns here because the audience thinks they want that in the moment. I don’t think they actually do want that. To me, the whole idea is, Chris is escaping. He’s got to get out. He’s committing violent acts for survival and this moment you’re describing is a moment where he’s faced with killing out of anger. I wanted him to hold on to his humanity and draw that line with what type of violence we should be cheering on. Not that any violence should be cheered on. But violence for survival, violence for self-preservation is something I think everybody can understand. Self-defense is where it’s needed, right? I just wanted to draw that line and say, “Look, we’re not going to take my lead character’s soul. We’re not going to turn him into what he’s fighting.”
I actually teared up a little when I read this.
posted by brainwane at 7:50 AM on March 13 [24 favorites]


Why is she often standing robotically giving weird looks?

I have read several people suggesting that Georgina is the one who is fighting hardest to "get out" as seen in her brilliant "no no no no no" moment. Also, several of her weird moments are explainable once you know what's going on, like her readjusting her wig.

Why does Walter run straight at Chris?

He is driven to run because he never got over missing out on the Olympics. That's probably the route he runs every night and Chris just happened to be in the way.

A lot of the grandparents' behavior can be explained this way: 1.they don't know how to be in these bodies naturally 2. they are trying to put Chris at ease, but because they have zero ability put themselves in the shoes of a young black man in this situation (because they don't see black people as fully human), they pretty much fail. See the moment when Chris tries to get Walter chatting and says they work him hard - Walter says he's not doing anything he doesn't want to do. It's super-creepy in the moment, but you can see how someone with no empathy, who thinks black people aren't intelligent, would think that would be all he would need to say.

Really, just like everything else in this film, their behavior says a lot. In this case, I think it is such a statement on white America's lack of empathy for black people's lives and experiences.
posted by lunasol at 1:02 PM on March 13 [7 favorites]


I cannot wait to watch this movie a second time.
posted by knownassociate at 1:46 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]


A lot of the grandparents' behavior can be explained this way: 1.they don't know how to be in these bodies naturally 2. they are trying to put Chris at ease, but because they have zero ability put themselves in the shoes of a young black man in this situation (because they don't see black people as fully human), they pretty much fail. See the moment when Chris tries to get Walter chatting and says they work him hard - Walter says he's not doing anything he doesn't want to do. It's super-creepy in the moment, but you can see how someone with no empathy, who thinks black people aren't intelligent, would think that would be all he would need to say.

I recently came to the realization that Rose's father's claims aren't necessarily true - he's essentially a used car salesman who could be overstating the quality of the product he's selling. So my take is the procedure hasn't been perfected yet. It's a bit like Pet Sanctuary, in that you get a new body, but you're not all there due to the person still being in the Sunken Place, able to bubble to the surface once and a while. That's why the grandparents and Walter are a bit zombie-ish and stick to chores, which is perfectly fine for the people around them.
posted by bluecore at 3:58 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


Just saw this for the second time, and I agree that it is even better on second viewing. Everything does indeed have a double meaning, and it's very very well done.

One thing I noticed this time: During the house tour, Dean says "My mother loved her kitchen, so we keep a piece of her in here", and immediately the camera pans to reveal Georgina. This is a line that makes no sense without knowing what's going on. Probably some really observant viewers figured out the puzzle early with this clue.

The body-shopping that was going on during the big party was full of telling microexpressions. On first viewing those scenes were funny and creepy. They were downright chilling this time around.
posted by isthmus at 10:56 PM on March 13 [8 favorites]


I recently came to the realization that Rose's father's claims aren't necessarily true - he's essentially a used car salesman who could be overstating the quality of the product he's selling.

That's a great observation; I'd say that's one of the many layers that makes the film work so beautifully. The metaphor-as-literal white co-opting of identity is sold as a great and wonderful and perfect thing, the best thing really, just tremendous. (Believe me! Bigly.) But it's a horror, obviously so for the victim, but also for the victimizer--what's being sold as for their benefit lessens them, mutilates them. This isn't a bit about sympathy for the monsters, but a subtle layer about the fact that monstrous choices and acts twist and distort and damage the ones doing the damaging.

The monster at the very top certainly isn't in a rush to undergo the Coagula procedure himself--now of course he'd say that he's still healthy, and his son is still gaining the necessary skills, but under that interpretation of the seriously flawed (in monstrous "objective" terms of simple efficacy and functional outcomes for the transplanted brain and mind) procedure, you can bet that the doctor would be under no hurry even if his crazy medschool kid was fully capable of performing the operation himself. (And maybe there are other doctors who could. Maybe there are other similar Families elsewhere. What, that family was just a few bad apples? #notalletc. Brrrr.)

Loved this movie, and I can't wait to see what Jordan Peele does next.
posted by Drastic at 8:04 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


That's why the grandparents and Walter are a bit zombie-ish and stick to chores, which is perfectly fine for the people around them.

I took it as the awkwardness of playing their parts while Chris is there. They're pretending to be Black People, or what they imagine Black People are like. Georgina and Walter don't act like normal humans because they don't see actual Black people as normal humans. The irony is that if they'd just behaved like themselves--like actual grandparents--Chris would probably have been more likely to buy the story that the family was just exceptionally close with the groundskeeper and housekeeper. But because they don't see Black people as Like Us, they adopt these weird obsequious roles.
posted by schroedinger at 3:31 PM on March 14 [16 favorites]


Something I've seen elsewhere but not here, regarding the deer symbolism: the word buck is a derogatory term for a young black male.
The father's deer rant takes on a deeply sinister cast in light of this.
posted by domo at 10:14 AM on March 16 [7 favorites]


That's a good catch. Though I think from the beginning it was pretty clear the deer was a metaphor for the Black victims--Peele spends like five minutes having Chris look at the deer, followed by the dad ranting about how terrible they are.
posted by schroedinger at 2:22 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


Just saw it here in Scotland. Cinema full of white teenage boys giggling at the jump scares (and there were too many IMO).

But seriously, what a film. Peele is easily on my "hey $X has a new film! Time to book tickets" list. I think the acting from the victims was great, particularly the "no no...no no, no!", which was gruelling. Also, the soundtrack, particularly at the start, was fantastic.

I totally bought the relationship between them, right until the photos reveal... I'll be interested to see how it all reads on rewatch.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:57 PM on March 17


finally saw this last night WOW
posted by supermedusa at 1:45 PM on March 18


Finally opened here yesterday; my wife and I saw it this afternoon. Here are her comments on Rod:

Rod being a TSA agent is so perfect because it’s a perfect storm of power, respectability, stereotypical pettiness and lack of credibility. He’s not a mall cop, not a security guard, someone with real power, but a position in a government agency that is straight up REVILED. So yeah, no one will believe him but he CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, like legitimately, I mean, they COULD have made him be a cop that no one believed. He could have been a mall cop/security guard with no credibility or power, but he was TSA with power and no credibility. So, the detectives won’t take him seriously at all, but he ends up saving the day, for real, in his official red-and-blue flashing lights government vehicle.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 3:04 PM on March 18 [2 favorites]


Just watched it this past weekend and still unpacking it. That said, it was pointed out on the Buzzfeed list posted above that the attendees of the "party" all wore some red on their person, except for Chris. "Aha!" I said, but Andre (now Logan) doesn't have any red on him either! Now, this wasn't too strange because he had a blue line on his hatband, coding him as "black" so it was still somewhat true. But then his wife comes up and hands him a red handkerchief which Logan then pockets, symbolizing the transplant of the white Logan into the black Andre's body.

Such a great flick.
posted by ooga_booga at 8:20 PM on March 23 [8 favorites]


Nothing, though, felt so thoroughly banality of evil than Allison Williams eating dry Froot Loops, one at a time, and then drinking milk through a straw.

OMG lilac girl! I read your description of this and gasped out loud, realizing that she was keeping the colored cereal separate from the white milk.
posted by Smells of Detroit at 8:03 PM on March 25 [9 favorites]


Ok I totally didn't get they were doing brain transplants! Now I do.. How did I miss that? I also didn't get the auction scene... And for the surgery, I thought they were just going to exchange eyeballs.

Nevertheless, I loved the movie! Thanks all for cluing me in to the obvious!
posted by latkes at 6:16 PM on March 26


Also Betty Gabriel was really fantastic.
posted by latkes at 6:29 PM on March 26


Just saw this; I'm especially glad I got to see it in a theater (even if there were only half a dozen people in the audience, sigh). It reminded me of Arrival in that the opening scene was unexplained until the end, and so beautifully shot and constructed that you relaxed and knew you were in good hands. Wonderful discussion here, and now that I realize how many details I missed I want to see it again! One detail that hasn't been mentioned: "We had to close up the cellar—some kind of black mold." Oh, and "They treat us just like family"...
posted by languagehat at 3:24 PM on March 28 [5 favorites]


Languagehat, the "black mold in the basement" is referring to the symbiotic relationship of the black hosts that the white cultists are being transplanted into via surgery in the secret operating room located down there -- they're alive, and they need to be kept alive, but they aren't sentient or aware in the truest sense of the word.

They treat the servants just like family because they are. They're Rose's grandmother and grandfather, aka the evil neuroscientist's parents who started the brain transplant craze for locals a few years back.

Nobody else mentioned this so I'll say it now: Fruit Loops are actually all the same flavor, they're just dyed different colors.

*head asplode*
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:40 PM on March 29 [2 favorites]


Oh shit just talking about the black mold thing again and I realized that maybe they're talking about molding their true selves into "black people" (aka recasting their outer shells in a black person mold)?

damn you Jordan Peele, why you so smart! Oh please write a sequel set 20 years from now where we revisit the (now all-black) aging cult members trying to plan their next "physical transitions"...
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:04 PM on March 29 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I wasn't clear: I wasn't mentioning those details as stuff I didn't understand but as stuff whose significance became clear to me only much later in the movie. If/when I see it again I'm sure I'll notice zillions of things like that; these are just two I happened to think of when writing my comment. What a brilliant movie!
posted by languagehat at 6:38 AM on March 30


Such a sly, clever, funny film. Jordan Peele is a genius story teller. And on a $4.5m budget? Just, wow. It was so beautifully shot and atmospheric - and perfectly, economically plotted, everything packed a punch.

I was in a packed cinema and the audience was on the edge of their seat. It felt like a film showing in the 1950's - everyone oohing and shrieking in sync. I loved the carnage at the end, that Chris was literally slaying monsters to get out of there, anyone else get shades of The Evil Dead? Everyone was rooting for him, and at that brilliant reveal of the airport sign the whole audience just erupted. The gut punches were amazing too, the 'now sink into the floor' bit slayed me.

No-one else has mentioned in the reviews but it also had pretty good gender parity (only just squeaking past the Bechdel test but I can forgive it that...), the female villains were so awesomely ruthless but all the characters felt totally real within that environment.

A+++ would view again.
posted by freya_lamb at 1:57 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


"During the house tour, Dean says "My mother loved her kitchen, so we keep a piece of her in here", and immediately the camera pans to reveal Georgina. This is a line that makes no sense without knowing what's going on."

I too wondered what that was about but of course the movie drags you straight to his introduction of "the field of play" or whatever they called their back yard, so I didn't have time to dwell on it. When I got out of the theater, though, I was like "OH YES some piece ah ha."

Later, knowing that Georgina was really Grandma it made sense that she would just be standing in the kitchen knitting at night. Weird for a servant to do it, not so weird for grandma. She just loves her kitchen.

I can't believe it escaped me that Chris kills the father with a mounted deer head. Of course.

And I just assumed the bingo was plausible deniability in case Chris had still been around instead of wanting to go for a walk.

I need to see this again, after reading everything I can about it. Peele just knocked this out of the park in every way.
posted by komara at 5:13 PM on April 1


Holy shit, this was so fucking good. I hate horror movies and put this off because I wasn't sure it'd be worth facing my fears, but I'm so glad I saw it.
posted by DynamiteToast at 10:02 PM on April 1




I finally thought of one single thing I didn't like about this movie. Speaking as a photographer: I don't know any photographers that would leave the flash on their phone enabled by default.

If that's the worst thing I can say about this movie ...
posted by komara at 2:03 PM on April 3 [7 favorites]


I finally thought of one single thing I didn't like about this movie. Speaking as a photographer: I don't know any photographers that would leave the flash on their phone enabled by default.

My impression was that it had to do with his phone resetting because his battery died, and that's why it surprised him.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:51 PM on April 5


Finally saw this movie, and really enjoyed it. The least likely plot point in the tight script is that white, twentysomething Rose, dating a photographer, has her social media so secured her family supposedly wouldn't know about the months-long relationship with a black guy.

And I did like the weapons symmetry, when Chris was escaping, of antlers for dad, lacrosse ball for brother, and silver spoon for mother.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:54 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


The parents are so painfully unhip that I could easily believe they don't have Facebook accounts, though.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:34 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


But the brother, though?
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:35 PM on April 6


I know more than a couple of people who don't follow their siblings on social media, largely because they're huge d-bags like the brother.
posted by Etrigan at 6:26 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Finally saw this. I had high expectations and they were exceeded.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:14 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


For some reason, the bit where the father cuts the scalp off the blind guy and just *drops* it in a bucket really struck me. I'm not sure why - maybe because it made it clear this wasn't a brain swap or anything, but that this old white body was being completely discarded and there was no turning back.

I could easily believe the process being kind of buggy and Georgina being a rougher draft than Walter (I can easily believe they'd test it on the grandmother before risking a man's brain...), which explains much of her odd behavior. The one bit I found confusing with Georgina was when the kitchen door opens and you see her just standing there holding dessert on a tray. I mean, it's good for creepy but kind of seemed off.

As for Walter, if you were an old guy who was once a world-class athlete, I could see chopping wood and running hard and fast through the night as hobbies.

It was a solid little film, and it seemed sufficiently internally consistent even before the conspiracy is fully revealed that I was able to buy into it and suspend disbelief. I was also uncertain if Rose was in on it or whether she was reset and sent hunting after each new person right up until she broke character. And I think the depiction of the sunken place was one of the better ways to visually express the experience of being a passenger in your own brain lost and drifting and watching everything from afar.

Does Rose target smokers, I wonder, to give an easier excuse for the first hypnotism?
posted by rmd1023 at 1:39 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you brought up the smoking. I noticed it as it's unusual in contemporary film, and it's not just the hero who smokes but also his buddy.

Not sure exactly what's happening with that but maybe something can be said about white America's ideas and priorities around safety and health and how those ideas ignore other insidious harms...
posted by latkes at 10:54 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Which reminds me -- did we actually see anyone smoke? Rose smacked one out of Chris's hand before he lit it, and then he went out for a cigarette that night but we didn't see him "in the act", did we?
posted by Etrigan at 10:50 AM on April 9


I think we saw the buddy smoking at the airport.
posted by latkes at 3:41 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Yeah, we see Rod smoking on his breaks, while he's on the phone with Chris.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:46 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


The one bit I found confusing with Georgina was when the kitchen door opens and you see her just standing there holding dessert on a tray. I mean, it's good for creepy but kind of seemed off.

See, I thought that tied into one of the larger themes of the movie-- wherein the entire family is putting on an elaborate performance for Chris’s benefit. The grandmother is “waiting in the wings” for her scene to start, prop already in her hands. The reason the parents and Rose get mad at the brother brother at the dinner isn’t because they disagree with him, but because he’s breaking character. The whole weekend is scripted to a certain extent, because they’ve done it before and they know how to get people into the chair in the basement.

It also reminds me of one of my favorite reveals in the whole movie— when Chris finds the box full of Rose’s secret photographs, the first (seemingly innocuous) ones he sees on top are of her performing in theatrical productions as a girl and a teenager. That was when my stomach sank, when I became certain that her entire persona had been an act all along— and then came all the shots with her recreating that act for all of her previous lovers, becoming the perfect lover for each one of them, putting on the right costumes, the right opinions, probably even the right accents.

It’s part of why it is so chilling when Rose herself finally breaks character on the stairs, the keys to the car in her hands. She’s been the consummate performer up until that point, but then the show is over, and the real nightmare starts. The boho fashion touches are over, the goofy-sexy-cool girl schtick— she just disappears. The scene is over, the play is over, the house lights are coming up.

I thought it added to the inversion of the cultural “black man as sexual predator” trope where Rose is the true predator/rapist, where Chris is the one who experiences that level of betrayal, of violation, of realizing the person who tricked you into loving her only ever saw you as a body to be used.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:02 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


That is a brilliant comment, a fiendish thingy, and makes me even gladder that I sought out the FanFare thread!
posted by languagehat at 8:53 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Georgina just standing waiting was a little foreshadowing taste of that wonderful oh-crap moment of the entire party suddenly freezing to waiting silence when Chris went upstairs. (I swear you could feel the chill go through the entire theater at that.)

The reason the parents and Rose get mad at the brother at the dinner isn’t because they disagree with him, but because he’s breaking character.

One of the (oh so many) little in-retrospect-sharp-snapping-into-new-and-more-fitting-frame moments that really good twists are about was his petulant "I wasn't gonna hurt him" mutter after the scolding. Their anger at breaking character, and jesus-christ-you're-risking-spinal-injury-to-the-merchandise-you-idiot factor that was really behind the angry-aggrieved-Rose "he was going to put you in a headlock" fuming.
posted by Drastic at 11:55 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


The thing that seemed particularly odd to me about Georgina standing with the dessert is that she didn't serve it - it was the mother who brought it out. Otherwise I'd have assumed she was at places waiting for her cue.

That whole bit with the party freezing as Chris leaves was SO GOOD.

And I'm so glad they didn't wimp out and have Rose some kind of unwitting hypno-wiped-after-events stooge. Because she's initially so much of an entry character POV type character for the nice white liberals watching the movie. And, no, she's just as complicit and into it up to her eyeballs. They did a good job of making me wonder up til the question resolved itself, though.

So much well-balanced tension.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:58 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Rose looking at basketball draft picks online at the end (there's a blink-and-you'd-miss-it picture of Keegan-Michael Key) made me consider how much vetting went into selecting the victims. Andre the gifted musician is lured into a suburban maze, and then Jeremy snatches him (Hudson even tells Chris he was fortunate to have had Rose as his handler, as the brother's methods left a lot to be desired). Chris is a talented photographer, and the Armitages knew his 'artistic eye' would be prized by the blind art dealer.

During the iced-tea scene earlier in the film, it was jarring to hear psychiatrist Missy bluntly ask Chris how his mother died; after the lights came up, I figured, well, she was doing that spoon thing (incidentally freezing Georgina in place) at the same time, it was the start of the hypnotic process and she was feeling around for useful sore spots.

But now I think the family had the specifics of how his mom died, after doing their usual due diligence and checking into any family history of ____ (to have genetically healthy, strong people to auction off, who would then survive the swap surgery). Chris had only told Rose about his mother's death in brief. Maybe the police report had the full details (the young son home alone, that no one went looking when she didn't arrive at her usual time, the slow, lingering death) so Missy already knew that remembering that helplessness and guilt would be the perfect entry point for her paralytic hypnosis.

(I halfway suspect that deer was catapulted across the hood of Rose's car.)

This was such a good, layered movie! I'm glad it did so well at the box office.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:48 AM on April 11 [4 favorites]


You may be interested that there is an episode of Planet Money that references some of the filming that was done for Get Out and the general ethos of the production company:

MARCH 29, 2017
#650: The Business Genius Behind Get Out
Jason Blum makes a lot of movies and makes them cheap. So why are so many turning into blockbusters?
http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510289/planet-money


The dead deer is specifically discussed at the end.
posted by olya at 9:10 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Thanks, olya! I found what looks like a transcript of the whole episode.
posted by brainwane at 10:52 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Wow.

I went into the cinema not knowing much about the movie, expecting just a fun horror flick. I sat in my seat until the credits ended, thinking how brilliant it was and that I had just found a new favourite film.

I can't believe how well done this was. As a white person, the white liberal racism struck a nerve with me. So true, and so scary.

The way the psychological tension built up until there was just the nightmare of Chris being stuck in the deep pitt fighting to get out.

I loved- loved- the happy (ish) ending- the fact that the black men saved the day and got out.

Daniel Kaluuya was brilliant in Black Mirror and he was similarly fantastic here- an actor to watch. Everyone else turned in great performances.

I'm now reading up on all the symbolism and foreshadowing I missed. This is going to be a movie I'll be thinking about for a long time.
posted by daybeforetheday at 2:58 AM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Alternate ending.
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on May 18


I can't watch that. Not strong enough.
posted by amanda at 4:04 PM on May 18


Good choice. I wish I hadn't watched it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:41 PM on May 18


That link has already been taken down for copyright violation.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:32 AM on May 19


« Older Grimm: The Son Also Rises...   |  Superstore: Wellness Fair... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster