Jordan Peele's Get Out is many things. Terrifying. Hilarious. Astute. An Oscar nominee! But would you describe it as tear-inducing? I'm not sure that I reached a moment during the numerous times that I've watched Get Out where it brought me to tears, though Peele told people gathered at the 2018 Writers Guild of America West Beyond Words Panel in Los Angeles that there was one scene in particular that made him cry while he was writing it. Peele explained:
There was a point in the process where I got to something that was very vulnerable. The fun evolved into tears. I mean, when I was writing the scene about Chris in the hypnosis and The Sunken Place, I ended that day crying, and it was a cathartic thing. I wouldn't describe it as fun.
If you caught Jordan Peele's Get Out (and you likely wouldn't be in here if you haven't), you know that The Sunken Place is a terrifying void that hypnotist Missy Armitage (Catherine Keener) sends her victims into so that she and her husband, Dean (Bradley Whitford), can prepare their bodies for... well, and experimental brain-transplant surgery. Yeah, the movie takes a hard left turn into some bizarre sci-fi corners in its third act.
But you can understand how Jordan Peele would get emotional when bringing this scene to fruition, as it's a serious turning point in the narration of his film. Right up until the moment when Missy sends her daughter's new boyfriend, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), into The Sunken Place for the first time, we're still open to trusting the Armitage family. We suspect that something unusual is happening, but we think that Missy might be trying to help Chris kick his nasty smoking habit. We keep an open mind, even though Rod (Lil Rey Howery) sees the bigger picture and is warning his friend to steer clear.
But the moment we see Chris plunge into The Sunken Place, drifting down into the nothingness and seeing his reality get smaller and smaller as he falls helplessly, we do instantly feel a pang of fear and nervousness for this innocent man's fate.
Jordan Peele was appearing at the Beyond Words Panel, which we were lucky enough to attend, to discuss in depth his Get Out screenplay, which recently was nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar -- one of the four total nominations that the movie picked up. It also will contend for Best Picture, Director and Actor (for Daniel Kaluuya) when the Oscars are handed out on March 4.
But we're really just thrilled that virtually a year after Get Out reached theaters, it's still part of our national conversation, and we're still learning about Peele's process in putting this thrilling drama together. It's a gift that keeps on giving.