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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Get Out movie review: yes all white people

Get Out green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Shattering and deep-down bone-chilling. A viciously unsettling nightmare of race and privilege that carves out a much-needed paradigm shift for genre film.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m desperate for more diverse storytelling
I’m “biast” (con): not generally impressed by horror movies
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I am shattered by this movie. I am horrified by it… and not in the way that horror movies are typically intended to horrify us: this one is deliberately carving out whole new realms of horror onscreen, realms that have always existed for some people in the real world while others of us have been blind to them, but realms that none of us have ever seen onscreen like this before. Get Out is paradigm-shifting stuff,tweet not just for movies, for “mere” entertainment, but maybe even for our culture. Get Out could provide a new framework for talking about race, racism, and privilege, one that is very much needed.

This is what happens when new voices — here, African-American comedian and actor Jordan Peele, making his directorial debut — are given room to tell stories from perspectives that have been ignored before: we get exciting movies that are freshly compelling because they’re so different.

“Guess I should have told you, honey, that even the interior of my car is super-white.”

“Guess I should have told you, honey, that even the interior of my car is super-white.”tweet

Moonlight may have been a groundbreaking in that it served as an extraordinary empathy machine that put the viewer into the life and mindset of one specific poor gay black man, and made his experiences feel universally human. Get Out does something that is perhaps even more important: it immerses us in a story told from a black man’s perspective in such a way so that it is not universal, so that it is all about what it means to be a black man in America that is different from what it means to be white. (I mean, I am presuming this. I’m white, so I cannot possibly know what it would feel like to be black. But I try to listen and understand, and it seems to me that Get Out at least gives me a flavor of it. I’m sure it only hints at the full reality of even just the narrow angle it takes.) Get Out makes you feel, in a deep-down bone-chillingtweet way, that being black in America can be fucking terrifying.

As with Moonlight, it’s one thing to try to be a generally empathetic person and do your best to appreciate that other people’s experiences are different from your own… but it is quite another, and an infinitely powerful thing, to be inescapably plunged into another person’s life through well-told fiction. So while you can know that even well-meaning white people can do and say stupid thoughtless bigoted things to nonwhite people (and if you’re white, you’ve probably done this yourself, and cringed, and hated yourself immediately afterward), it’s quite another thing to be on the receiving end as Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya: Sicario, Kick-Ass 2) is when he goes to visit, for the first time, the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), in their remote, exclusive, all-white enclave. Like how her dad, Dean (Bradley Whitford: Saving Mr. Banks, The Cabin in the Woods), keeps calling Chris “my man” in a dorky attempt to be cool. Maybe her mom Missy’s (Catherine Keener: Begin Again, The Croods) harping on how she can help Chris quit cigarettes with her hypnotherapy is more out of concern that he is exposing her baby to secondhand smoke than anything else, and maybe she’d be the same with a white boyfriend, but there’s definitely something a tad too patronizing and paternalistic and smugly superior about her.

Get Out plays with tropes of paranoid science fiction, body horror, and social satire, finding a blend that is brand new.

But that’s only the beginning of the weirdness for Chris, which gets intensely weirder in a disquieting Twilight Zone-ish way very quickly. The Armitages have two servants, cook and housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel: The Purge: Election Year, Experimenter) and groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson: Pete’s Dragon, Woodlawn), both of whom are black, and Dean’s white-person-cringe, trying-to-be-woke, half-apologetic explanation to Chris that he knows how it looks, the black help to the wealthy white family, is not even the worst of it. No, there’s something very wrong with Georgina and Walter, in a brainwashed, Stepford Wives sort of way.

What comes after this, what happens to Chris in this place, is full of crimes and terrors that are half familiar, because Peele is playing with tropes of paranoid science fiction, body horror, and social satire that we all know. But the crossover blend he finds between them is brand new. The absolute most sickening aspect of Get Out — and I mean this in the best way; it’s meant to be sickening and it should be sickening — is the larger metaphor under which it is all operating: this is a movie about how black people are denied their humanity by white people. Chris is, as Georgina and Walter are, seen as fit only to serve white people’s needs. This is a nightmare — a viciously unsettling nightmare — about the appropriation of black bodies and black lives by white people that started with the American slave trade and endures today with the mass incarceration of black men (who often then become cheap, near-slave labor for big corporations). There’s a scene here in which the guests, wealthy white people all, at a garden party the Armitages are hosting “welcome” Chris by invoking really revolting racial stereotypes, praising Chris for his apparent physical strength and winkingly asking Rose about his sexual prowess. They seem to believe this is simply charming banter with a newcomer, which is awful enough, but these encounters take on insidious new meaning in retrospect, after we learn what is going on here.

And you thought your in-laws were weird...

And you thought your in-laws were weird…tweet

There is no way around this: The villain of Get Out is White People, not just the Armitages and their neighbors but all of us. It is white culture and white privilege and white entitlement, and white obliviousness to it all, and sometimes the white deliberateness of it all. What shattered me about this movie is thinking — knowing — that I am included in this villainy. I’m not a bad person! I don’t like to think that black people are wary or on edge around me because of the color of my skin. That’s not fair! #NotAllWhitePeople! But this is the power of Get Out for white audiences: it doesn’t just put us in Chris’s shoes but in the skin of someone railing at the injustice of being seen through such a narrow lens. And it also says, yes, all white people. We all benefit from the way things are at the expense of others, whether we want to or not, whether we like it or not.

This is the sheer brilliance of the truly terrifying, truly originaltweet Get Out: it is unnerving and alarming in a way that few other horror movies have ever achieved, by implicating much of its audience — and not unfairly — in the horrors it depicts. This ain’t an imaginary acid-drooling alien hurting people we come to care about onscreen, or even a crazed ax murderer. And this certainly ain’t, say, 12 Years a Slave, a movie allowing us white viewers historical distance from some long-ago awfulness of long-ago white people. This is now. This is how black people feel now, and how white people are not helping the situation. Get Out does not allow us any escape. It compels us, because it is so smart and so well-crafted and so just-plain entertaining around its underlying message, to shut up, sit down, and just listen to another side of reality. Get Out will make many white people very uncomfortable, but hell, isn’t that what horror movies are supposed to do?

But don’t worry, my fellow white folks: You get to leave the theater and stop worrying about the color of your skin. You get to leave this all behind in a “it’s just a movie” way that people who look like Chris don’t.

Click here for my ranking of this and 2017’s other theatrical releases.

green light 5 stars

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Get Out (2017) | directed by Jordan Peele
US/Can release: Feb 24 2017
UK/Ire release: Mar 17 2017

MPAA: rated R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references
BBFC: rated 15 (strong violence, gore, sex references, language)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Aaron Jones

    Thank you for your honest take on this movie. As I watched it with an audience of white and Latino folks, I wondered what was going on within them, through what cultural lens they perceived it. I can tell you that seeing it as a black person, an extra level of terror is present.

  • RogerBW

    I think this may even do a better job than Moonlight, because it can’t be written off as “a film about black people so it must be a film for black people”. This is a film about the interfaces between black and white.

  • Beowulf

    I understand how you’re using terrifying here, but I want to know if it is scary in a blood-n-guts way, an extreme slasher movie way. Is it? My wife won’t see it then and I might have qualms (yes, I am a little baby when it comes to this stuff). A movie can scare the shit out of me, just don’t let it gross me out.

  • James Barker

    Great now even movie reviews are turning into social justice warrior rants I mean for God’s sake black people have equal rights as do all Americans, stop pretending we are living in the 1800’s, and the idea that race relations will be solved if white people acknowledge their “privilege” is just absurd and insulting, people are individuals before their race, some are born with privilege and some without, stop race baiting with this stupid shit, your feeding the alt-right racist narrative of “left wingers hate white people” and you need to stop if you want to actually call out real racism not just racism you guys make up

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You sound pretty triggered there, friend. Can I get you a safe space? (And maybe a period or two, ’cause you’re beating that comma splice like it woes you money.)

  • No, this film is not gory or gruesome.

  • Spoken like someone who is not impacted by racism. Seems like you missed the point of the film entirely.

  • Beowulf


  • James Barker

    I’m not “triggered” i’m just calling out obvious race baiting. Is that not a good thing?

  • James Barker

    How do you know I haven’t experienced racism? You don’t know anything about me

  • Your emails to me have demonstrated that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to race. I am not going to engage with you, as I told you in email. If I have to block you here, I will.

  • James Barker

    I have no idea what i’m talking about when it comes to race? Yet you somehow do? You review movies your not a civil rights activist, and I actually do know alot about race because i’m interested in it and why are you threatening to block me? Why can’t we discuss this? And Did you really expect to not get a reaction after writing an article called “yes all white people” did you not expect a blow back from that blatant race baiting title?

  • You’re gone.

  • RicoSuave

    I thought the movie seemed like a Twilight Zone take on “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner”. As to it being an indictment of all White People… not sure if I would accept that extrapolation. Those who want to can take it that way. I didn’t take it as an indictment of all people of Haitian/Creole background after watching a film like “The Serpent And the Rainbow”.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Uh, no, that’s not what you’re doing. But nice try, I suppose.

  • Danielm80
  • Dr. Rocketscience


  • When someone makes a movie about Haitian/Creole privilege, then we can talk. This movie is an indictment of white privilege, which all white people have, whether you accept that or not.

  • Beowulf

    MA is so right about white privilege. By the way, was it Richard Pryor on an old SNL who wore white-face onto a bus (full of actors not real people) and saw the drinks and presents come out for the white riders after the only black person got off the bus?

  • Bluejay

    That’s Eddie Murphy in “White Like Me,” and it is a classic.


  • RicoSuave

    That’s the opinion of the film maker and those who want to see it that way.

  • Bluejay

    There’s a difference between saying “all white people are the same” and “all white people benefit from a racist system.”

  • Jurgan

    I’d say there’s a decent amount of gore in the last twenty minutes.

  • I think the film is remarkable circumspect about its physical violence.

  • Lucille Williams

    So much for an open debate. Such hypocrisy. Someone points out the double standard you employ, and they’re gone. lol

  • Lucille Williams

    Sounds like the critic is saying “all white people are the same”

  • Lucille Williams

    Perhaps we should just assume that all white people are racist because we’re white? Oh, that’s already being done.

  • The was no “open debate” in this commenter’s offerings, and I do not engage with racists or ignoramuses.

  • Sounds like you didn’t read the review, and that you have little idea of concepts of racial justice. I invite you to go educate yourself elsewhere, because this site is not Social Justice 101.

  • If you are looking to get banned with your very first comments here, you’re off to a good start.

  • Finally got to see it. Wow.

    The movie is most effective as an empathy machine, for me at least, when it shows Chris’s reactions to Stupid White People Tricks. The things the white characters say and do (before shit gets weird) range from cringe-inducing to vile, and Chris … takes them in stride. He may not like what’s happening, but he’s used to it, and he’s obviously learned a long time ago to pick his battles.

    This would be a good movie for a spoiler-space thread. There’s so much to talk about and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

  • halavana

    “we have met the enemy and he is us…”

  • geli menyakitkan

    get out 2017 — BOXOFFICE2017IMDB.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • Dd

    “’Im white, so I cannot possibly know what it would feel like to be black.”
    Jesus Christ yes you can you retard. It’s called empathy and perspective.

    Stop pandering to others and trying to appear morally superior by talking negatively about whites and positively about every other race.

  • dd

    Don’t even bother James. You are in sjw territory

  • Bluejay

    “‘Im white, so I cannot possibly know what it would feel like to be black.” Jesus Christ yes you can you retard. It’s called empathy and perspective.

    Your very smart comment shows that you have complete empathy and understanding for what the reviewer is saying, and that you completely understand the experience of black people as well. Well done!

  • Bluejay

    That’s true! You might want to take your own advice. :-)

  • Bluejay
  • Danielm80

    I know that you’re never supposed to read the comments, but the responses to that article are ten times worse than I expected.

    The article, however, is fantastic.

    I was just watching an interview with Chloe Bennet (which, um, you sent to me).


    It’s fascinating, and very sad, how often she goes on auditions and is reminded that she’s not what a Hollywood actress is supposed to look like. She’s not “normal.” I kept thinking how much more interesting movies could be, and how much more complex the characters could be, if filmmakers paid attention to the life stories of people like Chloe Bennet.

  • addictedtoreason

    This review is one of the the worst I have ever read. No race, black or white should ever ‘self-hate’ in order to have sympathy for the plight of someone else. No individual should be speaking on behalf or apologize for any group. To be clear, you are not “woke” you’re simply arrogant. Beyond cringe-worthy.

  • She is awesome, and her experiences are so depressing. :-(

  • Aren’t you adorable?

    PS: I don’t think it’s “reason” you’re addicted to.

  • Bluejay

    If you scroll around this thread, you might find a link I posted that directly addresses your argument. I won’t hold my breath, though.

  • Danielm80

    I finally saw the movie right before the premiere of Twin Peaks 2017. I’m going to have interesting dreams this week.

    I largely agreed with the review, and I can understand why the film is still playing three months later. But I kept getting distracted by the technical details, which sometimes pulled me completely out of the movie.



  • Drayson Roberts

    I don’t see racism in America, except those fake shootings of blacks by police, which is, BTW, FAKE! All this movie does is the same in agitating racism and getting blacks to hate whites, thereby creating social division, an old tactic that the rich globalist controllers use all the time as a distraction off of their skull-duggery to remain rich, dismantling countries and democracies in order to control the entire world. It’s a set-up in lieu of WWIII.

  • Desbris

    Whoops, MaryAnn I think you just proved that person’s point, yikes.

  • Oh, no. Not at all. The humanity of people is not open for debate. Not all ideas deserve to be given the benefit of debate.

  • Dan Theman

    You guys are creating white nationalism & white pride again. So thanks for that idiots… Us white devils needed a wake up call.

  • Dan Theman

    How the hell was he racist? He just held a different opinion & didn’t offer up a single racial slur. In fact, he didn’t even mention black people once.

    You just called him ‘racist’ to shut down debate, be honest. This is why the left are failing, nutters who know their ideas have a million holes in them so they have to shut down dissenting opinion.

  • Dan Theman

    White privilege ‘aka’ having the ability to create a superior civilization.

  • Simple Simon

    Thanks for understanding (if only for a couple of hours) – what it’s like.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    This review is almost as stupid as the movie.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Oh, look. Rocket is trying to project. He must’ve REALLY has his tissue paper feelingz hurt.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Maybe you should get a dictionary, learn how to spell “owes”, Snowflake.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Spoken like somebody who thinks imagining racism around every corner makes them an honorary minority.

    He nailed the point of this awful movie right on the nose, incidentally.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    And the same can be said about you and your paranoia of imaginary racism.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    You’re pathetic.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    That must be difficult, given that you’re a racist ignoramus.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Yup. Most certainly. And you keep proving it with your baseless slander and false accusations of racism towards anyone you can’t debate.

    True product of the Obama age.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Your idiotic tantrum throwing about imaginary concepts like “white privilege” are the most racist comments being made here.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Wow. Thinking that SNL skits are reality. No wonder you people are so screwed up.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    No, not really. Both claims are completely childish, false and racist.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Funny how you’re only mode of argument is racism and banning people who point out what a pathetic racist and awful person you are.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Sounds like you’re a mentally ill racist who has no grip on reality.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Well, it’s completely irrelevant, racist and idiotic, but it’s nice to see the racist Left eating each other.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Better off not reading this racist garbage passing itself off as film review.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    You’re a racist moron, MaryAnn.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    Since you did no such thing, I BEG you to hold your breath.

  • ThatSkepticGuy

    To be a pathetic racist who has to delude themselves that they’re a victim?

  • Danielm80

    Your dedication to “upvoting” your own comments is kind of impressive.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Another wild triggering victim appears. This one blew his wad too soon, had to try again. I understand that happens after a certain age…

  • Dr. Rocketscience


  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The really smart ones are best at it, donchaknow?

  • EQOAnostalgia

    James is spot on.

  • EQOAnostalgia

    I should figure you were one of those white privilege nutjobs. You look frumpy enough to be one lol. What is it with hideous women and the anti-white, anti male rhetoric? Get a real job lady.

  • EQOAnostalgia

    Ban her and me, delete our comments, you freaks love to exist in your safe space bubbles where you can sniff your own farts and sip your mocha latte’s while bitching about the patriarchy. I don’t think any of us with a normal, rational functioning brain would mind being banned by a forum nazi Marxist cunt lol.

  • amanohyo

    Thank you kind sir for providing yet more evidence that feminism is no longer needed and that white privilege is a myth. Why, just this morning an obviously privileged black female stranger boldly proclaimed me to be a hideously frumpy nutjob and demanded that I seek employment in a new line of work. And then, when I reached into my pocket to answer a text, the old loon shot me nine times while making lewd references to my undercarriage that I shan’t repeat among civilized company. And I’m the privileged one! Preposterous politically-correct poppycock!

  • Hereward

    Go fuck yourself you anti-white cuckold

  • Hereward

    Go fuck yourself you cuck.

  • Hereward

    oog booga you chimp

  • Hereward

    Sounds like you’re s atupid self hating cunt who deserves to be thrown out of a helicopter.

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