Comedian Jordan Peele's horror movie 'Get Out' draws praise for its take on race relations

The new film by Peele, who directed and wrote 'Get Out,' is being called 'perfectly tailored to our post-postracial moment' and 'almost certain to be the boldest – and most important – studio genre release of the year.' The movie stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams.

Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures/AP
'Get Out' stars Allison Williams (l.) and David Kaluuya (r.).

Comedian Jordan Peele has found an unusual forum for discussion of race relations in America: a horror movie.

Mr. Peele, who starred in the Comedy Central series “Key & Peele,” directed and wrote the new movie “Get Out,” which opens on Feb. 24. The film, which is reminiscent of the 1967 classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?," stars Daniel Kaluuya of “Sicario” as Chris Washington, who goes with his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), to meet her parents. Yet all may not be as it seems. 

Peele told The Washington Post he was inspired to create the film when former President Barack Obama was running for office. 

“There was a sentiment that we had a black president now, so racism is over,” he said. “It even felt like President Obama couldn’t talk about race in a way that was satisfying.” “Get Out” came about from a sense “of knowing racism is still very much alive in this country, but that it was sort of being neglected as an issue,” he said. 

Peele said he also wanted to be very deliberate with his setting, putting the movie in New York. “It was really important for me to not have the villains in this film reflect the typical red state type who is usually categorized as being racist. It felt like that was too easy,” he said. “I wanted this film to explore the false sense of security one can have with the, sort of, New York liberal type.” He says he’s looking to have the movie serve as “a reference point as we forge into the difficult conversation about race.”

"Get Out," with its black protagonist, is also rare in horror movies, says Peele, who told the Associated Press of the genre, "there's this extreme lack of representation of black characters, black protagonists."

The movie is drawing various positive reviews, with Los Angeles Times writer Justin Chang writing that the film is “perfectly tailored to our post-postracial moment” and particularly praised the movie’s opening scene, in which a black man walks down a dark street in a wealthy neighborhood and being tailed as he does so. 

“The scene is a jolting piece of suspense craftsmanship and a clever dismantling of several decades’ worth of racist stereotypes: The black guy walking alone on a dark street, so routinely depicted as a figure of fear, menace and criminality, is here recast as a frightened, vulnerable innocent,” Mr. Chang writes. (However, he personally felt that the sequence “is so cleverly composed and effortlessly subversive that writer-director Jordan Peele never quite manages to top it.”) 

And though Indiewire writer David Ehrlich felt that “nothing in ‘Get Out’ is as scary as the things that inspired it,” he felt that the film is “almost certain to be the boldest – and most important – studio genre release of the year. What it lacks in fear, it nearly makes up for in fearlessness.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Comedian Jordan Peele's horror movie 'Get Out' draws praise for its take on race relations
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today