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During its third weekend in theatrical release, I finally got to see Get Out. Surprisingly, as I approached the box office window, I was greeted by the phrase “Sold Out,” in place of showtimes. What began as a mid-evening movie outing, turned into a midnight screening with a packed house. As my friend and I settled into our chairs, we watched as other moviegoers trickled into the cinema, scanning the crowded auditorium in search of the best remaining seats. I thought, “Wow! After two weeks, this film’s popularity still hasn’t died down.” Then, I thought about all of the amazing reviews the movie’s generated and how many of the people in the theater that night must have heard positive things from family and friends. In fact, my brother couldn’t stop talking about it, neither could my coworkers and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really have FOMO, but I was pretty excited that I was finally going to be able to join in on the many conversations that the movie spurred. As the lights went out, I sat back and braced myself for what I knew was going to be a good time.

Whenever I watch a film, I approach it critically. I’ll admit that sometimes, it takes the fun out of the experience, but I’ve learned that a truly great film can stand against the critical eye. Unthreatened, it forces us to stop thinking and to start experiencing. We put our mind to rest and let the film guide us. Fortunately for me, it was precisely my experience, as well as everyone else’s that night. From the brilliant mind of comedian, Jordan Peele, Get Out induced laughter, especially from comedian, Lil Rey Howery, who provides tons of comic relief as the suspicious, uneasy, and quick-thinking best friend. At times, our laughter muffled the film’s dialogue, as we all tried to catch our breath and recover. Then, there’s the horror aspect of the film. As things got gruesome, we all sat on the edge of our seats, yelling at the screen, hoping the lead character, Chris, could hear us rooting for him.

Finally, there’s the thriller aspect of the feature. An effective score made us all uneasy, inducing jumps in all the right places at all the right times. Even our scares made us laugh, as we realized that we were all in this together. Hell, we were all in it with Chris, too, feeling his sense of discomfort, uncertainty, and fear. There are no spoilers here, but let’s just say that Get Out is one intense roller coaster that many of us would not riding again and again.

As the final credits rolled, I was overwhelmed and excited about what just happened. I had an amazing adventure due, in large part, to the film, but perhaps in equal measure to the audience. In a theater filled with at least 100 viewers, we all had this intense communal experience. In fact, we each heightened that experience for one another, as every individual only intensified the laughter and shock.

Though Get Out is a cinematic feat, I imagine that watching the film at home would not have produced the same effect. The movie has certainly become a cultural phenomenon with the Get Out challenge and all of the hilarious tweets. I mean, even two and half weeks later, the feature is still making the headlines and expanding its theater reach. All in all, the movie proves both, the importance and the power of the theater.

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