The Rake


Source: Poitier on the set of Lilies of the Field, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

The most important American film of 2017, and the worthiest successor to Moonlight’s best picture Oscar, was Get Out, a psychological horror-satire about a white woman who brings her black boyfriend home to meet her parents. It is a masterpiece: immaculately paced, queasily perceptive to the hypocrisies of white elites, a rise-through-the-octaves howl against semi-camouflaged prejudice.

“I have four children. They go to the movies all the time, but they rarely see themselves reflected there.”

The plot could also be read as a Trump-era riff on Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, a landmark film released half a century before it with a similarly symbolic representation of the generation above. If Get Out cleverly cast actors with progressive associations (indie darling Catherine Keener and The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford), Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner chose holy cows Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as emblems of a Hollywood establishment charmed by the courtesy, intelligence and restraint of the leading black actor of the time. That actor, of course, was Sidney Poitier.

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