‘Get Out’ Reminds Us Only We Can Save Ourselves

by Preston Mitchum |

In Get Out, his feature directorial film, Jordan Peele takes us on an intense, don’t-closeyour-eyes, emotional rollercoaster. It’s a necessary film requiring close attention to fully understand the complexity —intentional or not — situated throughout the film.

There are many underlying themes: the potential dangers/fetishizations of interracial dating between black men and white women (because: history); understanding that white women can almost cause another’s peril and still survive; and how “nice racism” and white liberalism/progressivism, particularly due to its covert, microaggressive nature, are never to be trusted.

As viewers, we also bore witness to the development of each main character — except Georgina, who’s most intriguing because we literally know nothing about her; the erasure of black women in Hollywood and white women’s obsession, to be sure. Two weeks later, many of us are still connecting the dots and discovering gems from a film that many did not expect to be nuanced and layered.

Peele’s Get Out is more than a thriller/comedy that premiered the final week of Black History Month. The film, in its entirety, has elements of white violence, a consumption of black bodies, and occasionally gives a nod to slavery and antiblackness. But, for all of the beauty Get Out has to offer, hyper-focusing on this leaves room for missing out on arguably the most important part of the film: a black person saved Chris’ life, and that’s because we are who we need to survive.

Rob Williams, played by Lil’ Rel Howery, the T.S.A. agent who uses his detective skills he supposedly learned on the job, is the unsung hero of Get Out. Considering what we know
about the discriminatory, racist treatment of Muslim, immigrant, indigenous, and black communities, T.S.A. should be appreciative of being showcased so favorably.

From the onset, Williams knew something was wrong, repeatedly asking Chris if he was sure going to the woods to spend time with Rose Armitage, Chris’ girlfriend, and her family
was wise. But Chris, lost in the sauce, did what most of us do: ignore our gut, go against our better judgment, and eventually regret our poor decision-making.

It’s clear that Get Out rightfully underscores the distrust black people have of white women — and white people writ large — nevertheless, it is the undeniable belief of black people, which was only held by other black people, that was widespread.

Initially appearing as a concocted story, full of conspiracy theories that often turn out unbelievably accurate, Williams makes it clear that he does not trust Rose and believes her family is behind the disappearance of multiple black men — like “Logan,” a missing man from Brooklyn. He does not waver from this position, and we should note how critical this
rigidity is for Chris’ survival.