Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 2017. Blumhouse Productions, Monkeypaw Productions, QC Entertainment. Screenplay by Jordan Peele. Cinematography by Toby Oliver. Produced by Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele. Music by Michael Abels. Production Design by Rusty Smith. Costume Design by Nadine Haders. Film Editing by Gregory Plotkin.
Daniel Kaluuya is heading to the country with girlfriend Allison Williams to meet her parents and is more than a little bit nervous. Her upper middle class family doesn’t know that he’s black and he’s worried that they won’t welcome him, but even with that tension in the air he still isn’t prepared for the situation he walks into when he gets there: overly polite and accommodating white people, creepily chipper and zoned out black people, and a girlfriend who makes things worse by insisting that everything is perfectly normal and he needs to relax. Getting further into the situation reveals more sinister secrets in a delightfully funny satire on race relations that is equal parts Roman Polanski, Georges Franju and Ira Levin, balancing comedy and horror effectively (though admittedly with more emphasis on the former). An experienced film watcher will see many of the plot twists coming, it’s actually a shame that director Jordan Peele’s script isn’t as twisty or complicated as his sense of allegory is smart and fresh, but it’s directed with a great deal of strength (including an outstanding hypnosis scene that is the film’s highlight) and has more than a few genuinely creepy moments. The cast is uniformly strong, including Catherine Keener as Williams’ subtly terrifying mother and LilRel Howery stealing scenes as Kaaluya’s very funny best friend.
Academy Award: Best Original Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya); Best Director (Jordan Peele)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Daniel Kaluuya)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations: Outstanding Motion Picture Cast; Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya)