Elif Batuman on the Cult of Family in Get Out
This Week on the Open Form Podcast
Welcome to Open Form, a weekly film podcast hosted by award-winning writer Mychal Denzel Smith. Each week, a different author chooses a movie: a movie they love, a movie they hate, a movie they hate to love. Something nostalgic from their childhood. A brand-new obsession. Something they’ve been dying to talk about for ages and their friends are constantly annoyed by them bringing it up.
In this episode of Open Form, Mychal talks to Elif Batuman (Either/Or) about the 2017 film Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, and Catherine Keener.
Subscribe and download the episode, wherever you get your podcasts!
From the episode:
Elif Batuman: I was even more into therapy than I am now at the time that I watched Get Out. I was reading about cult deprogramming, and it’s weird, because when you read about how people deprogram people from cults, it’s the same way that therapy works to deprogram you from your family.
When they talk about what makes people vulnerable to cults, it’s like, they get you at a time when you don’t have money and they control your money and they control who you talk to and they control your flow of information. And they make it clear that love can only come to you from them, it can’t come from anywhere else, and that other people outside are somehow worse than or opposed to your unit. It really feels very similar.
Elif Batuman’s first novel, The Idiot, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK. She is also the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010 and holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University.