Get Out Movie
1–Look specifically at the first ten minutes of the movie. There are three songs that are played in succession, and they are very different in tone (“Run, Rabbit, Run,” “Sikiliza Kwa Wahenga,” and “Redbone” by Childish Gambino). How do you think these three songs together set the tone for what to expect in the film? Look at them separately and together.What about the events that we see in the first ten minutes? What did you think of the characters, and what the movie was about, up to the point when they arrive at Rose’s parents’ house? When did your expectations start to shift (ie—when did you start fearing for Chris’s safety)? Why do you think Peele chooses to start with Andre’s character and his fate, instead of with our main protagonist?2– Chris may not be called “the moor” every time he enters a room, but what are some other ways that he is singled out and made to feel “other” in the situation that he is in (try to find at least one example from before the party scene, and at least one from the party)? In what ways does Peele point out his (legitimate) discomfort being the only person of color in most of the scenes he is in? What was revealed by the interactions at the outdoor party scene? Can you think of inappropriate questions (like the ones Chris is asked at the party) that people may have asked you without realizing how inappropriate they are?Follow-up: At the party, the Armitage’s host a “bingo” game where guests actually bid on Chris. How did you react to this scene? How did it dehumanize Chris, and do you think the people participating were aware of the parallels to a slave auction? How does dehumanizing groups allow humans to absolve ourselves of guilt for our actions or lack of actions? Can you think of examples of current situations where people or groups are dehumanized in our society? (Also, after this scene, how did your feelings or perceptions of the art collector character change? Why do you think Peele goes out of his way to make this character seem sympathetic to Chris, and like he might be a possible ally, when he is introduced?)3–Missy Armitage, Rose’s mother, hypnotizes Chris to “help” him break his smoking habit. She does this without his consent. Discuss the ethical issues of treating someone without their consent. 13. While he is hypnotized, Chris tells about his mother’s death and the guilt he feels for not seeking her out. How does this guilt, or self-doubt, impact Chris’s actions?Follow up: How does guilt or self-doubt impact Othello’s actions? How do these two characters deal with their own feelings, and the betrayal of the person they were in a romantic relationship with, and trusted, differently? Do you think it is important that Chris tries, but is unable to strangle Rose in the end? What do you think would have happened, if Rod hadn’t shown up?Follow-up follow-up (I know, I am out of control): What is Rod’s significance? What does his character represent, or contribute to the story? Why is it important that he is the one who picks Chris up at the end? How might Othello’s story have been different if he had a Rod?4–Who is the creepiest/most insidious/most “evil” character in Get Out? Is it Rose’s brother, who is up front about his racist views, or her mother, who masquerades as sympathetic, and seems like she is trying to help Rod? Or is it Rose herself? Or is it someone else? (Basically, is there an Iago, and if so, who?) In what ways do the various members of Rose’s family, or the guests at the party (particularly Jim Hudson, the art dealer) try to gain power over Chris, and how do they wield this power over him? Talk about at least two characters, and compare how they operate/attempt to influence or intimidate him. Who would you say is the real antagonist in Get Out?Followup—Are social norms and accepted “facts” at the root of the problem? Why do you think Peele chooses to target seemingly sympathetic White progressives, instead of outright racist activists? Is he saying that the real problem we have with race has more to do with the former than the latter? Do you agree? — What does the film have to say about casual racism among American liberals and seemingly progressive people, and the state of denial that they maintain about their own racism and privilege? Does racism have to have intent to be racism? Does privilege?5– What are some things that the director does to get the audience (Or Chris, since we see the story unfold from his perspective) to trust Rose? When did you realize that she was not actually on Chris’s side? How surprised were you in the reveal scene, when Rose won’t give Chris the keys? Did you think up to that point that she was on Chris’s side? If so, why? And what was the deal with the way she ate Fruit Loops?-Followup: At what point did you start to realize that things were not what they seemed, with the rest of the characters Chris encountered? (cite specific points in the film, with timestamps if possible) How does this film play with the idea of appearance vs reality? Is it more obvious in revealing the disparity between what seems and what actually is than Othello? What parallel stories are being told here? Could we compare Rod’s evolving theory about what is happening to Chris’s understanding, and then with what was actually going on, looking back? Who was closer to the truth? Why do you think Chris remained unfazed (or at least didn’t voice concern) for so long?6–This movie was filmed in Alabama, and it takes place in New York, during the run up to the 2016 election (so while Obama was still president). It was edited and released in 2017, after Trump was elected. How do you think the specific time and place this was written and filmed in, and takes place during, influence the message of the film, and the way that race and racism are portrayed? After watching both the theatrical release ending and the alternate ending (which was the one Peele originally made, while Obama was still president, but changed it a few months later, once Trump was in office), which do you think is a better ending? How does the ending change the way that you think of the movie and its themes? Why do you think Peele changed the ending the way he did?7–What do you think of the way that the police are portrayed? Look at both the incident with Rose and Chris’s car, and what happens when Rod tries to report Chris’s abduction to the local authorities. How does the fact that Rod presents himself as a detective, and on par (or superior) to the police or FBI, play into ideas of police or law enforcement presented in the film? Does this make the moments of police presence less antagonistic in any way? Why do you think Peele chose to make his character part of the TSA?Follow-up: What was your initial reaction when you saw police lights at the end? How is it different than when you may have seen police lights at the end of a horror movie like Scream where there is a white woman protagonist? How does being in Chris’ “eyes” change it?8–Is Get Out a horror movie? If you don’t think so, what would you call it? How does Peele use tropes and commonplaces from the horror genre, to create and disappoint expectation? Choose some specific examples and discuss how they work to communicate meaning beyond the plot (some possibilities: 1–creation of suspense/building sense of dread that the main character is in danger of harm, 2–the police arrival at the end, or any interaction with police, really, 3–Dr Frankenstein like chop shop, 4–poetic justice in the way that Rose’s family meets their ends). Why do you think he chooses to work in a genre that is so heavily dominated by white filmmakers, and the “white gaze?” (is that a thing? I know male gaze is a thing, so I’m going to say that it is).9–Ok, here is the one you have been waiting for: How does Get Out compare with Othello? What are some things that they have in common? Are Chris and Othello in similar situations? What differences do you see in the stories, based on who is telling them? (ie—Shakespeare is a White man telling a Black man’s story, while Peele, of course, is a Black man telling a Black man’s story).Follow up: Actually, though, are the two writers telling the story of an individual man’s experience, or is the overarching story for either or both more about revealing truths about the society that they live in? Talk about why you think this is so, for either or both (or neither!). What does Get Out show us aboutthe situation of race and racism in our world today, and how does that compare with Shakespeare’s time? What similarities do you still see between these Get Out and Othello, and what important differences are there in the ways that we think about race?