“I will never look at a cup of tea the same.” – Morton
“Never” – Metzger
The cup of tea is a symbol of comfort and relaxation. Similar to fuzzy TV screens in “Poltergeist” and seeing clowns after watching “It”, the cup of tea got a new meaning after we watched Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”.
Why we loved this film? The symbolism.
One of the opening scenes of “Get Out”, we are introduced to Chris through his photography. His photography tells a story about our current society in B&W images with Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” playing in the backdrop. Make no mistake, Jordan Peele knew exactly what he was doing. We were in for the ride of our lives with this social thriller.
Rose’s family last name is Armitage, derived an old French word hermitage meaning hermit. They live in a remote part of upstate New York, that is a utopian oasis with manicured lawns and a family that would’ve voted for Obama a “third time”. The film introduces the viewer to cultural symbolism about family dynamics, and the tension of being a visitor in a family’s culture can be…uncomfortable. Add the subtle references to race, and you have an uncomfortable first dinner with the parents. Like Chris, we were uncomfortable and thinking dinner with our families would never go down like that.
“I want your eyes, man, I want those things you see through.”
Mr. Peele introduces symbolism through the eyes of Chris. Prior to visiting Rose’s family, he asks if her parents are aware that he is black. Through his eyes, we see the discomfort he faces when asked to show his ID when the police officer talks with them after they hit a deer driving to her family’s home. It’s a scene that many in the audience will get immediately. Keep your encounters brief. He finds familiarity and discomfort at the same time when he meets Georgina and Walter, and when he approaches Andrew at the party and extends his fist to him as a welcome symbol of familiarity. For Chris, the head nod, the fist bump, and the conflicting feelings meeting the staff at the Armitage’s home are symbols of the world that is all too familiar to him. In a way to make sense of his feelings, he seeks out his camera. Similar to our modern times, the cell phone camera is a way to capture the unbelievable, an image that we can review and dissect later with our friends.
The suggestion of hypnosis with a psychiatrist is reminiscent of a feeling that therapy isn’t necessary if you have church and a pastor. With the tap of the silver spoon, a symbol of privilege, Missy Armitage taps against a cup of tea, hypnotizing him, and sending to the sunken place. In the sunken place, he can see what is happening, but feels invisible and powerless to defend himself. He awakens the next morning unsure if what he feels about The Armitage family is real. The Sunken Place for us, represented invisibility with the actions and feelings that happen to us and around us.
Prior to watching the film, we were used to thrillers following the same formulaic rhythm. Jordan Peele isn’t your typical director. He not only entertained, he knocked it out history books. SPOILER ALERT: The black guy survives.
“Get Out” starring Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams; written and directed by Jordan Peele
MPAA rating: R (for violence, bloody images and language including sexual references)
Running time: 1:44