Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parents for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.Written by
At a Vanity Fair screening of the film, Jordan Peele explained that he wrote the screenplay during the first term of former President Barack Obama, when racism was believed to be a thing of the past. He thought there would not be much interest for his movie in such an optimistic climate, so he wrote it mainly for himself. With the increasing discussion regarding violence against African-Americans, and the coming of the Black Lives Matter movement in later years, he knew the time was right to make the movie. See more »
When Chris sends Rod a photo on his phone, he begins typing Rod's name into the recipient tab. However, even after several letters, his phone screen shows "no name found" in the tab. A suggested contact should have popped up right away. See more »
The amiable Daniel Kaluuya gives an enjoyable breakthrough performance as Chris Washington, a young black artist dating white girl Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Five months into the relationship, and it's time to meet her parents. They live in a back of the beyond universe populated almost exclusively by whites, along with a few black people who behave quite strangely. Chris will discover some nefarious doings by Roses' mom and pop (Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford) and these other members of the white elite. Will he be able to "get out" of this situation before it's too late?
Overall, the filmmaking debut for sketch comedian Jordan Peele is a respectable, if not great, effort to blend some commentary on racial relations with a tried and true, formulaic Hollywood thriller. This viewer could point out the film that seems to have inspired Peele the most, but that would be along the lines of a spoiler. While the film is technically well made and well paced, and builds towards an appropriately visceral finale, it is troubling in some ways. Its "mystery" is easy to figure out (Hell, Chris' seemingly paranoid friend Rod (LilRel Howery) may actually be on to something), and the characters are pretty "black and white", if you'll pardon the expression. Undoubtedly, the film is perfect at being manipulative, with villains whose violent comeuppance is the ultimate catharsis.
The cast provides most of the value. Williams is good as the girlfriend who, at first, tries to have you wondering "is she or isn't she". Old pros like Keener, Whitford, Stephen Root, and Richard Herd do as much as they can with cliched roles. The lively and profane Howery is quite amusing. Caleb Landry Jones dials up the seediness to 11 in his role as Roses' loutish brother Jeremy.
As this viewer said, the scenario is likely to get the blood of some audience members boiling, but it could have used a bit more restraint. It's certainly entertaining to a degree, and clearly it did hit a nerve with the movie-going public, even garnering some Oscar nominations.
Six out of 10.
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