DISCLAIMER: This post is longer than my normal ones but it also contains spoilers. Please only read if you want to know what happens or have seen the movie
I didn’t care for Get Out (Peele, 2017) the first time I saw it. So much so I gave it a bad review and was surprised when it won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2018. I also felt that Jordan Peele should stop making movies. But after seeing Us (Peele, 2019) my mind changed about Peele and made me want to see Get Out again.
Premise: Chris is invited to his girlfriend’s parent’s house for the weekend. Unbeknownst to Chris, his girlfriend and her parents are hiding a horrific secret and why Chris. is really there.
Watching Get Out with different eyes it reminds me of 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013) in which the protagonist, who is a freeman black man living in New York is befriended by a couple of white guys whose ulterior motive was to kidnap the protagonist and sell him into slavery in the South. This movie opened my eyes to the knowledge that this went on in New York in which free black people could easily be kidnapped and sold into slavery with no way out. Most of the kidnappings were done by the police office of NYPD (Wells, 2020). The same can be said for Get Out in which Chris is essentially befriended by a friendly white person, kidnapped and sold into slavery, hypothetically speaking, of course. However, in Chris’s instance, he’s able to escape his captures.
But what about the alternate ending in which Chris does kill Rose’s parents, Dean, Missy, and her brother Jeremy and ends up in prison instead of the ending shown in theaters in which Chris gets away with the help of his friend Rod? If we were to look at the alternate ending with Chris being in prison, it can be said that Chris is free from the clutches of what could have been, and to him, it’s worth being locked up. But is it? Since most have not seen the original ending but only heard about it, it will never be known how Chris feels. It can only be speculated.
SYMBOLISMS AND METAPHORS
The Sunken Place: When Missy hypnotizes Chris she says, “You’re sunken now.” It doesn’t take long for Chris to come under the spell of Missy’s silver spoon (get it, silver spoon?) tapping the side of her teacup which causes him to free-fall into an open space all the while seeing what’s going on with him. For the viewer, Chris falling is in full view while what’s happening to Chris is in a small view. Not only did end up in a ‘sunken place’ with Rose by trusting her, but he also ends up in a ‘sunken place’ with Missy’s tapping of the teacup. According to Jasmine Grant, this represents how black people’s bodies are mistreated when given to white people (Grant, 2017). A prime example of this is the Tuskegee Experiment: https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm
The Greens and Tiger Woods: When Chris meets the Greens, Mr. Green asks if he plays golf and then says he loves Tiger Woods. It would have been great if Chris said he didn’t like Tiger Woods. Was Woods the only African-American golfer they could think of? What about Calvin Peete or Charlie Sifford? Did Chris being young have anything to do with their remark? Was this to make Chris feel comfortable? Also, why would they think Chris played golf by asking if he does?
The Slave Auctions: When he meets Nelson and Annalisa, Annalisa remarks how handsome Chris is, then she begins to feel his arm and chest. This reminds me of the slavery auction blocks and the slave’s body and teeth being checked by those at the bidding place. But it’s what took place before the meetings. All the people showing up at the Armitage’s house, like those that showed up at the auction places. They all know each other and the Armitages. One of the guests said, paraphrasing, this has been going on for hundreds of years. Just like slavery had been going on for hundreds of years along with the auctions.
The Flash of Knowledge: When Chris tries to take a picture of the black guy with the English accent the flash somehow ‘woke’ the guy up (“begins to see the light” (Grant, 2020)) to where he was telling Chris to GET OUT! Then he begins attacking some of the guests, although this is not shown to the viewer, but spoken of in the next scene. Of course, Dean Armitage tries to explain, justify, the guy’s reaction by saying it was a seizure. To get him back on track Missy hypnotizes him and tells everyone all is OK. Afterward, the guy apologizes to the guests. It’s here Dean asks, “Who wants cider and to play bingo” to which everyone, save for Chris, raises their hands. Chris tells Rose they should take a walk.
The Armitage’s version of Bingo: was an auction on who will get Chris. The blind photographer won (see the movie, if you haven’t done so to understand).
Woke: is a political term originating in the United States referring to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice. It derives from the African-American Vernacular English expression “stay woke”, whose grammatical aspect refers to a continuing awareness of these issues (wikipedia.com). The flash from Chris’s camera can represent the person that comes along to tell another to wake-up to themselves and see what’s going on around them. When the English guy ‘wakes up’ it takes him a bit to get his baring but as soon as he does he tells Chris to get out frantically whereas Rod, Chris’s friend, has been telling him the same thing but in a more calm, comedic way.
Rose was the most compelling character in the movie. She was a trustworthy one. The one Chris knew wouldn’t betray him. She acted shocked and appalled at things the guests at the auction were saying to Chris. Rose has a trusting face and demeanor. Why would Rose, whom he’s known for all of three to four months, turn against him. It’s all good until it’s not. When Chris tries to leave the Armitage’s house Rose is unable to find the keys to the car in her bag. It’s not until Chris yells at Rose to give him the keys she pulls them out of her bag and says, “You know I can’t give you the keys, right babe?”
While Rose was the devil sitting on Chris’s left shoulder, Rod, Chris’s best friend who kept warning him about going to “his white girlfriend’s parent’s house” was the angel sitting on Chris’s right shoulder. Rose told him what he wanted to hear while Rod told him the truth. Rod was Chris’s flash in his camera. And although Chris finally saw the light and ‘woke’ to what was going on around him, or what he perceived what was going on around him, Missy put him in a ‘sunken place’ again. Not only was his mind taken by Dean, but so was his body.
When Chris is strapped to the chair they should have used shackles since the entire movie uses metaphors of black people being ‘enslaved’ to white people. Using straps like those used for lethal injections or gas chambers or in mental hospitals didn’t tie into the movie as a whole. Whereas the cotton from the chair did.Cotton: Where cotton was once the death of the black man or woman and even kids with having to pick cotton during slavery, (and after slavery to make a living), cotton became Chris’s protector when he placed cotton in his ears to keep from being hypnotized again (Grant, 2020).
Chris tries to right a wrong: Upon escaping in Jeremy’s car Chris accidentally hits Georgina. As to not leave her on the side of the road as he did the deer, and his mother when he was younger (see the movie to understand), he puts her in the car either to take her to a hospital or take her with him out of the town. While driving Georgina wakes up. Her wig falls off her head and the viewer can see the scar showing she was operated on. She gives Chris a very angry look before yelling at him, “You ruined my house” then grabs the steering wheel which causes them to crash into a tree. Georgina dies while Chris lives. Georgina was Grandma Artimage. The groundskeeper Chris encounters earlier in the film is Grandpa Armitage. Grandpa Armitage started The Behold the Coagula in which the superior brains of whites are placed into the heads of physically fit black men. This tells the viewer that the white man has the brains while the black man has the physical attributes (no brains).
Rose in White: Towards the end the viewer finds Rose with her hair in a ponytail, ever so neatly and wearing a white top and beige pants, possibly riding pants sitting in front of a Microsoft Surface searching for a top NCAA prospective. White (Rose’s shirt) symbolizes purity, trusting in a sense. The viewer can assume that once Rose finds the right person she will interact with them in her current outfit. As Rose is a nice looking woman with a calming voice to match her next prey is sure to fall for her hook, line, and sinker. Missy had a white shirt with a black vest; black and white. Since the vest is black, it’s partially covered the white, or in other words, it pairs perfectly with white. Or at least in the eyes of the Armitages.
Fruit Loops and Milk but not together: Another person brought the following to light: Rose has Fruit Loops in one bowl and the milk in a glass next to the Fruit Loops. The mixing of colors (Fruit Loops) and whites (milk) is not allowed. However, Rose drinks the milk through a black straw.
Chris choking Rose: Choking or strangling someone is the most personal type of crime someone can commit. The choker is up close with the victim looking into their eyes. Chris’s hatred for Rose is evident as he chooses to choke her instead of shooting her with the rifle, but he stops. The viewer can assess that Chris’s love for Rose outweighed his hatred for her. His hatred was in the moment therefore the crime of killing Rose by strangulation would have been a crime of passion. Sirens are heard as a police car pulls up. Rose thinks she saved but it’s Chris who is saved for it’s Rod driving the car. Rose eventually dies knowing all hope is lost. Another symbolism shouldn’t be lost on anyone as the police car is there to rescue Chris instead of taking him to jail, as the original ending intended.
Run Rabbit Run and Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga. In the opening scene, we see a white car with the song Run Rabbit Run blaring. Run Rabbit Run is a story of a farmer who goes after one of his rabbits to make a pie out of. The driver of the car, we learn later, is Jeremy Armitage, the son. He’s seeking black guys to make “pie” out of for white people.Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga is Swahili for “listen to your ancestors”. Once the movie is viewed the song and words will make sense.