It is possible that the reason Chris ultimately couldn't bring himself to choke out Rose was not so much a sentimental inability to kill the woman he had loved as it was his realizing once he started to that she was getting off on it, so he refused to make the impending ending of her life undeservedly "happy", so to speak. Though considering what happened with Chris' mother, it would make sense for him to have a savior complex towards women. Especially with Rose if he had a moment of fridge brilliance/horror at some point and realized that Rose herself could've been a victim of her family's mind control. Which would have made all the sex Rose had with the Armitage victims (including Chris) essentially a form of rape.
It is well established that police reports should contain information on all witnesses to crime scenes, traffic incidents, etc., thus the cop may not have been acting out of racism when he asked for Chris's ID. Given the number of black people who had been mysteriously disappearing in that area, the cop may very well have been investigating the matter and wanted to see if Chris was one of those missing people, which would cast a whole new light on Rose's attempts to make him leave.
One recurring one, which has been Jossed repeatedly, is that Rose and the others were hypnotized themselves. They were not as confirmed by Allison Williams in an interview with Seth Meyers (and more or less previously on a podcast), flat out debunking the theory that she (and really anyone in her family) was ever hypnotized and saying she, like the rest of her family is just a flat-out evil white supremacist. She went as far as to say she only gets the Were you hypnotized? question from white people who want to make excuses for her. Rose is just a cold-blooded psychopath.note And Williams had this in mind during filming; early on, she asked Peele "If her whole family died and she survived, would she keep doing this?" His response: Yeah. Not that any of this stops this interpretation from being spread around.
A deleted scene mentions Rose was hypnotised years ago to help her get over her stage fright. The commentary said this was meant to hint she might still be controlled.
Georgina's death. One could say that her death was after attacking Chris while he tried to rescue her after Mrs. Armitage took over, leading to the car crash was really her taking herself and Mrs. Armitage out.
Audience-Alienating Premise: Subverted. Even if it's a horror movie about a black man in white suburbia, released in a moment of intense racial tensions, the Black Comedy and overall mockery of disguisedracism made for an easy and mostly apolitical watch that won audiences and reviewers over.
Due to title card rules for the Screen Actors Guild Awardsnote Any actors who share a title card in the credits are not eligible., Betty Gabriel and Lil Rel Howley's scene stealing turns as Georgina and Rod were not eligible to be included in the nominated ensemble cast.
It lost the Best Musical or Comedy Golden Globe to Lady Bird. Although most believed the bigger snub was it even even being nominated in that category rather than Best Drama, as the latter felt more fitting.
Some felt that it should have been the big winner at the Oscars instead of The Shape of Water.
Averted however with the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, making Peele the first black writer to win the award.
The main theme played in the opening and closing credits is no slouch either.
Broken Base: One rift caused by the film came from Samuel L. Jackson, who argued in the Hot 97 podcast that casting Black-British actor Daniel Kaluuya in an African-American rolenote also citing Selma and 12 Years a Slave treated their respective cultural racism as interchangeable. The assertion caused wide argument across many in the filmmaking industry, with some like Devere Rogers agreeing with Jackson that racism towards African-Americans is very different from toward Black-Brits, while others like Jordan Peele himself arguing that the rift was not so wide that a good actor couldn't bridge them. Ultimately, Jackson chose to rescind his complaints after a rebuking from Gloria Tafa, who rebutted that his accusal being directed at black actors rather than the casting system would hinder each other rather than provoking change.
Seeing Chris brutally pick off The Armitage family one by one as he makes his escape is a breath of fresh air after seeing him helpless and powerless for most of the movie before that point.
The ending, where Rod arrives to rescue Chris. Especially because of the brilliant setup that tricks the audience into thinking it was going to be the racist cop from earlier in the movie. It's quite common for the audience to break into cheers at this moment during screenings.
Complete Monster: Rose Armitage is a high-ranking member of the sinister Order of the Coagula, a racist cult founded by her grandfather, and is in charge of procuring the cult's victims, luring them through false relationships. Once acquiring a victim, they are psychologically tortured, culminating in their minds being overwritten via brain transfer. A sliver of the original inhabitant is condemned to the "Sunken Place", wherein they are fully aware of their surroundings, but are powerless to do anything about it. Initially posing as Chris Washington's girlfriend, Rose assists her family with detaining Chris before casually browsing the internet for more victims. Even as she bled out, she still desired to hurt Chris, playing the victim card so to frame Chris for attempted murder when a police car approached, A cold-hearted sociopath who doesn't bat an eye even at the deaths of her family, Rose enjoyed manipulating others.
Rod's hideously graphic (albeit factually accurate) Jeffery Dahmer monologue to a nauseated Chris. Admonishing Chris that he could be walking into a serial-killer type trap? Sound advice. Him talking about how Dahmer killed his victims? Tasteless. Him giving an outrageously over-the-top description involving blowjobs with severed heads? Hysterical!
One of the alternate endings invokes this in spades.
If the WMG and Alternate Character Interpretation tropes are anything to go by then some movie goers would consider both Rose and Jeremy this trope, advocating the theory that both of them were brainwashed by their mother so they can go along with their parents' scheme... though that was debunked by Allison Williams, who portrayed Rose.
There are also fans who feel sorry for Jim Hudson, due to his disability and the fact that he was the only cultist without a racist motive for his actions - as if that's the worst part of wanting to forcibly steal someone else's body.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Everybody loves Rod. For some, it's because of his awareness. Sometimes it's because of his Bait-and-Switch arrival at the end of the movie. But mostly, it's because he gets the best lines. There's also the fact that in a horror movie like this a mostly-comedic character like Rod would disappear halfway through the flick, but instead Rodney's skills and awareness allow him to become The Cavalry without losing his comedic edge. Also important to note that Rod's character is explicitly invoking the trope/claim many black people make/have made in film and TV that they'd NEVER do the stupid things leads in horror movies do. So Rod is for them specifically an Audience Surrogate.
Evil Is Sexy: Rose Armitage, a seductress par excellence. Not quite worth getting your brain scooped out for, though.
Andre breaks free of Logan (the old White man whose brain controls Andre's body) long enough to warn Chris to get out after the flash from Chris' phone goes off accidentally. Dean, a talented neurosurgeon, then tells Chris that "Logan" suffers from epilepsy, and the flash caused an epileptic episode. Chris does this later to help "Walter" break free of Roman Armitage's influence, who then shoots Rose and himself before Roman reasserts control. In Real Life, neurosurgeons used to treat extreme cases of epilepsy, a condition where person goes into shock from exposure to bright flashing lights, by surgically separating the two hemispheres of the brain. This caused a condition called Alien Hand Syndrome, whose symptoms included the patient loosing control of their own hand, which then did whatever it wanted, including physically attacking the patients themselves.
The idea of one losing control of their body and essentially forced into slavery also hearkens back to the original zombies from Haitian voodoo, predating the use of the term for flesh-eating undead. Probably not coincidentally, the zombie victims of Haitian voodoo would almost uniformly be black, and the concept of it originates in western Africa, where many of the slaves brought to America originated from.
Bradley Whitfod revealed a couple years later that his sincere delivery of the famous Obama line wasn't acting; he actually thought it was supposed to be a genuine moving line.
Jerkass Woobie: While it obviously doesn't excuse their actions, it's possible to feel at least some pity for the Coagula cultists, bar the Armitages themselves, as most of them do have legitimate problems, ranging from an avid golfer whose passion was ruined by advanced arthritis, to a paraplegic who wants to be able to make love to his wife again, to Hiroki Tanaka, who is insinuated to be a victim of racism himself and is curious to see if changing his race would mitigate that.
"Kalellujah," Tiffany Haddish's desperate attempt to pronounce Daniel Kaluuya's name while announcing his Oscar nomination.
Minority Show Ghetto: Averted. The movie opened #1 at the box office with 30 million dollars, knocking off the previous week's champion, The LEGO Batman Movie. It then proceeded to earn 100 million in only 16 days, making Jordan Peele the first (of many) black writer-director to break the record.
Rose herself, before the movie even started. She tricked several black men and women into loving her so she could lure them to her family. And if her interactions with Chris are any implication, she frequently subjected her previous victims to gas-lighting, played with their emotions, and ultimately manipulated them until her family was ready to put their horrific plan into motion.
Watching Missy knowingly draw out painful memories of Chris's mother's death while the poor guy sits there unable to move is pretty damn hard to watch. If anything it feels like her eventual death wasn't painful enough.
Even for an otherwise great movie, it still falls victim to the "false Jump Scare" tactic of modern horror films. To wit: when Chris sneaks downstairs at night, Georgina's silhouette walks across the hallway, which would have been fairly creepy had it not been for the ridiculously loud Scare Chord that ensued.
The skeletal deer monster seen in the trailer is from a deleted scene, extending Chris' time in the sunken place on his way to the game room. It was probably a good thing the scene was deleted, because the overt monster clashes with the film's tone, and before that, it shows Chris landing in the sunken place, and then casually taking out a lighter as if he's just in some dark house waiting for a friend, and not in a dream-state.
The scene where Chris goes in for a fist bump and Logan grabs his fist for a handshake. It's odd, but not impossible, but the movie acts like Logan's hand turned into a claw for a second.
The candles being used in the operating room This is obviously done to set a creepy mood and as a Plot Device when they inevitably start a fire. Its such an obviously bad choice of lighting for a freaking surgery though, especially since operating room is underground where the smoke would have trouble ventilating, that its hard not to laugh a little. This is actually an artifact from the original Downer Ending, in which Chris is arrested for murdering the Armitages, as the fire destroyed all the evidence that he had acted in self defense.
The level of Artistic License Biology taken with the brain transplants and how the process works can a bit of a stretch for some, given how grounded this movie is even when taking its portrayal of hypnotism into account.
Rose eating dry Froot Loops with a glass of milk right next to them. The movie seems to be trying to play this as a weird thing that white people do, but has anyone ever heard of it?
Out of the Ghetto: Horror movies rarely, if ever, do well at the Oscars, so nearly everyone was pleasantly surprised when it was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. This also makes Jordan Peele one of only three people in history, after Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks, to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay in his directorial debut.
She Really Can Act: Just about everyone was blown away by Allison Williams' utterly terrifying portrayal of a sociopathic monster, including quite a few demands for an Oscar nomination.
Signature Scene: The hypnotism scene and the shot of Chris' tear-eyed face as he's helpless at the hands of Missy's spell.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Unsubtle as it is, the film does everything in its power to show how racism, be it institutionalized stereotypes or Condescending Compassion and Positive Discrimination, turns people into monsters and puts the subject of racism in danger. If it weren't as unsubtle as it is, the movie would not have had the same impact considering the then-current political climate and the already divisive nature of the subject itself.
Special Effects Failure: Minor, but there's some obvious green screen work done on the scene where Georgina and Chris crash the car.
What an Idiot!: Chris picking up Georgina after hitting her with a car, despite previously being told people like her had their consciousness overwritten by someone comfortable with abduction, non-consensual surgery, and body jacking. While it's clear Chris knows this is a bad idea but can't leave her helpless, he still could've taken some precaution like putting her in the trunk instead of the passenger seat.
Because if he got pulled over with an unconscious woman in the trunk of his car, that would end well for him, a black man.
Poor Chris ends up being subjected to the scrutiny of egotistical assholes who Mind Rape him repeatedly to force him into their specifications, and want to steal his body and turn him into a permanent slave. Not to mention that it turns out his girlfriend is their completely remorseless stalking horse.
Andre as well due to him being violently abducted and due to the fact that by the end of the movie he's still trapped in his situation.