Why Georgina Is An Unsung Hero In 'Get Out'
The genius symbolism of the black woman's silent heroism in society.
March 05, 2018 at 4:34 pm
If you live under a rock or are one of those “I’ll catch it on Netflix” type of viewer, click the back button now because there are spoilers ahead that even Black Twitter would become irate over.
For those who have seen Jordan Peele’s genius directing debut, Get Out, since it opened in theaters, February 24 (what a great end to Black History Month following Queen Bey’s 2-biscuits-in-the-oven announcement), then you know that this horror-thriller, satirical masterpiece has been the current buzz on social media, barbershops, classrooms and more since it hit the big screen.
As a film school grad, it’s truly a breath of fresh air to see a flick, in the horror genre especially, that implemented every element of great filmmaking that makes an instant and timeless classic. For Get Out to be a far from cliche, horror-thriller WITH a black protagonist who escapes the grasps of a deranged and evil, white troupe had me shook. SHOOK...in a damn good way.
The film focuses on our protagonist, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer and his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage's (Allison Williams), trip upstate to meet Rose’s wealthy, cookie-cutter family. Seeing that Chris and Rose are indeed an interracial couple, this raised some eyebrows, as I'm sure most of us wondered how this "meet the parents" trip would unfold. When Rose admitted to Chris that she did not mention to her family that her current boyfriend is black and implied that they don’t “care about his race," I remember rolling my eyes to the high heavens at that line and I’m sure any other black viewer in the audience did the same. We have our reasons.
As the audience is introduced to the other black characters in the film, the Armitage family's groundskeeper, Walter (Marcus Henderson) and housekeeper, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), who we realize later on, are all hypnotized to Chris’ dismay, I found their characters quite interesting and their untold back stories to be amazing catalysts for a prequel.
Alongside my curiosity and desire to see it for a second time to catch more undetected clues, I found myself identifying with a character who didn't get as much screen time: Georgina.
Of course, I perked up when the audience was introduced to the eerily calm and cool Georgina. Hey! A black woman! Yay! But she’s clearly under some kind of trance. Damn. Of course, there was something about this character’s behavior that sounded off my “sista in distress” alarm. However, there were moments that forced me to feel as if Georgina might have more layers than meets the eye.
By the time the credits rolled, I had several think pieces swimming in my head. However, it was something about the actions of the beloved yet odd Georgina that caused me to believe that she, alongside Chris' good friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery), is an unsung hero in Get Out.
In the film, I witnessed key behaviors and an eerie interaction between Chris and Georgina that tipped me off in believing Georgina was constantly fighting her body’s host, who we come to find out later on, was Rose’s grandmother. Let’s look at some clues shall we?
The Tap of the Glass
When Rose's mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), clinked her spoon against her glass when she stirred her iced tea, something strange happens. Keep in mind this is the subtle clue that tells the audience that a literal silver spoon is what hypnotized the black bodies that came through the Armitage's house before Chris. When this happens, Georgina goes into a sudden trance where she looks as if she's having some sort of fight inside her head, causing her to almost overfill Chris' glass.This moment is Georgina’s true self being introduced to Chris.
Did anyone else notice how when Missy caught Georgina almost overfilling Chris’ glass, that she gave her a prominent glare across the table? Take it back to slavery, when white women would shoot that same type of look towards their female slaves if they embarrassed them in front of company. Missy knew Georgina's true self came out more than the family liked so that glare wasn't towards dear grandmama.
Scurrying Around at Night
When Chris headed outside in the middle of the night to smoke a much-needed cigarette, the familiar horror flick music cued Georgina to scurry across the foyer behind Chris. So, who exactly was it that brought that quick jump to the audience? Rose’s grandma or Georgina’s true self? I vote Georgina. Like I said, Georgina was constantly fighting her body’s host throughout the film and I believe it was Georgina’s true self that scurried behind Chris in the dark in efforts to try to warn him to GET THE F*CK OUT. Unfortunately, she was later defeated by Grandma who then led their body back to their quarters to gaze at herself in the mirror.
Grandma’s obsession with her younger and healthier black body is also an element that I believe Peele purposely put in the film to mirror how appropriation of black culture and black women’s bodies/hairstyles especially is at an all-time high. We're condemned or hyper-sexualized for our physical traits/fashion but the same physical traits/fashions are celebrated when seen on non-black bodies.
Tears of Joy or Pain
I think we all can agree that the scene where Georgina cried then laughed then cried...then proceeded to repeat "no, no, no" is the creepiest part of the film. I can see this moment going down in history with the many classic horror-thriller scenes such as the ax through the door in The Shining or Anthony Hopkins' incredible monologue in The Silence of the Lambs. A single tear immediately slid out of Georgina's left eye and down her cheek after Chris confessed that he was nervous being around so many white people. This is the confirmation, if you didn't catch the other moments, that Georgina's true self is putting up a fight every step of the way, as much as she can against Grandma Armitage.
Remember when the blind art dealer that ended up winning his bid on Chris noted in his video to Chris before their surgery that the order of the coagula procedure is usually successful when a portion of the host is willing to participate? A bigger part of Georgina wasn't having that, which explains her constant weird ass moments vs. Walter, who's fully hypnotized until the end of the film.
For decades, black women have been dubbed as the most powerless, least protected and the most mocked/belittled group of women in America. Through adversary and with the very little we are given, black women have resisted political and racist authority, made something extraordinary out of nothing and put our bodies on the line for our black men...which leads me to the last clue.
The "Convenient" Open Cupboard Door
One thing I extremely hate about horror films, or any film actually, is when a character conveniently discovers the typical missing piece to the puzzle that ultimately helps he/she overcome their obstacle. In Get Out, however, I knew what was up when Chris explored beyond the open cubby door in Rose's room. The Armitages were way too clever of a family when it came to successfully abducting black bodies for them to slip up and leave a door open; a door that led to concrete photographic evidence, proving they were a clan of black body-stealing liberals!
*Georgina voice* No, no, no, no, no, no, it was not the innocent Rose that forgot to lock her cubby door the night Chris tried to leave, it was spooky ole Georgina -- and I'm not talking about Grandma Armitage. My theory: With the little power she had to take over her own body for a brief moment, Georgina's true self-managed to open Rose's cubby door wide enough for Chris to notice later on. It was the least she figured she could do and ended up being the greatest thing she could do to help Chris since she couldn't save herself. I honestly feel, that if Chris never found those pictures, he would still ignore his inklings, even after the whole Logan fiasco, and stay with the Armitages where they eventually would succeed in their body swapping procedure yet again.
Peele, also serving as the screenwriter of the film, did an extraordinary job giving each character more than enough layers and depth and it shows in every scene.
If you go see the movie for a second time, look for the clues discussed and you'll see for yourself that Peele made no mistake when he brought the crying-laughing Georgina to the forefront in an inconspicuous and clever fashion on more than one occasion.