When the trailer for the film Get Out debuted last fall, the internet collectively scratched its temple. We wondered is this real? Is this a horror film or some kind of awkward satire? Now, after viewing the film (and discussing it incessantly with fellow moviegoers), we know it was all of the above. Though most of all, it was a film that captured the nuances of interracial dating in a way we’d never seen it before.
Thanks to the anti-miscegenation laws of the 1930s and the film industry’s Hays Code, interracial love was forbidden at the time. Romance between races could be be implied, albeit subtly — through glances and light body language. However, as for seeing actors consummate their love with one of those famous Hollywood kisses on screen? Forget it.
As America's political climate began to change in the 1960s, so did the desires of its audiences. Antiquated views on romance were challenged in 1965 when Sidney Poitier, a Black actor, kissed Elizabeth Hartman, a white actress, in the film Patch Of Blue. The scene was cut in movie theaters in the South. Two years later, thanks to the Loving v. Virginia case of 1967, the anti-miscegenation ban was lifted.
And considering that the Loving story was just brought to mainstream audiences last year, several decades after the landmark decision, you can see that progress regarding interracial love stories is immensely slow.
The video then goes through a stream of iconic films dealing with Black and white love, from Jungle Fever (1991) to Save The Last Dance (2001) to Guess Who (2005).
There’s one major caveat. Our stories about interracial love are still dominated by Black and white heteronormative romance. Which, to be honest, is now a bit snoozy. Plus, many of the premises of these films handle the challenges of interracial dating in a manner that we’ve seen over and over.
That is, they did until Get Out, a horror-comedy that boldly examines the discomfort many POCs deal with when dropped into predominantly white environments. Who knew this narrative could be both terrifying and hilarious?