First off, I think I have to make a statement upfront as a massive Gilmore Girls fan. Having finished this film, I can safely say that its references in the revival episodes of Gilmore Girls completely undermined the emotional gravity of the story. (It’s not the only thing the show did but hey, that’s another post.) And I know that’s the joke, that all of these women turning up at the Pacific Crest Trail have just watched the film and suddenly need to overcome their problems by hiking too, but it just seems to kind of miss the point a bit. From that episode I’d think that Reese Witherspoon (for at the time I did not know who Cheryl Strayed was) was completely overreacting to her mild middle-class white girl problems and her hike was a bit of a joke.
How wrong I was. And maybe it’s because of the time in my life when I’m watching it – I started it for the first time like a year ago when it was still on Netflix and I got about five minutes in before I gave up. It wasn’t right for me then.
I’m late to the party, and yes, this is another post about something people have already raved about. But I finally saw it on Sunday and had to talk about it. Get Out is a tense horror grounded in the real world but managing to balance realism with hypnotism, brain transplantation and ‘the sunken place’.
I say currently, I watched this last week, but it’s obviously still with me now.
13th, directed by Ava DuVernay (of Selma-directing brilliance) is a powerful, intense and emotional documentary that manages to get you angry and move you to action without draining you. The information is presented in simple terms, explained by experts and eyewitnesses whilst the numbers slowly tick by, in blacks, reds and greys, setting the tone for the film: one of complexity and violence. The film is named after the 13th amendment to the US Constitution that declares the end of slavery unless a crime has been committed. This loophole leads to the high, high numbers of incarceration of black people and the perpetuating of a narrative that regards black men as violent and dangerous criminals. Racism is entrenched in the US’s political system and this film makes a clear case for that whilst also avoiding too much hopelessness.
My explanation is nowhere near as well done as DuVernay’s so I recommend you just stop reading and watch it now if you haven’t done so already. And as soon as I finished, I watched the featurette with DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey which only made me appreciate the film even more. At this time in politics, and in particular the precarious relationships between US politics and media and race, this film is a strong statement, quietly presenting facts and statistics and opinions from both sides in an unbiased way. As a white Scottish woman, I cannot understand what it means to be black in the US but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t learn about it.
The film and the featurette with Oprah are both on Netflix so easily accessible! Also you should follow DuVernay, she’s great! I mean, look at her twitter handle, that’s how you know someone’s good.