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The ‘Karen’ Movie Starring Taryn Manning is An Assault on Film
Does someone have the number for the manager of Hollywood? Because I’d like to report an issue. There is going to be a movie called Karen, and the trailer for it is so heavy-handed and offensively bad that I’m unsure if it’s supposed to be an actual film or a satire so entrenched in irony that it’s unrecognizable as actual satire.
The trailer for Karen, directed by Coke Daniels and starring Taryn Manning, started lurking on the internet last week (presumably with phone in hand). But over the weekend and into Monday, the trailer blew up online, drawing comparisons to Get Out. The issue with the word “comparison” though is that it suggests there’s any kind of equity between Jordan Peele’s beloved 2017 horror-satire and Daniels’ attempt at whatever the hell happened over the course of the two minutes and eleven seconds I lost watching that trailer.
People On Social Media™️ have torn the preview apart, pointing out that the film looks more like a long-form Saturday Night Live sketch than it does a movie. Just in case it sounds like we’re being too hard on Daniels, let’s peruse through some of the trailer’s greatest hits. At one point, when asked to describe her neighbors, Manning’s Karen character looks around, pressed to find a descriptor before settling on, “They’re Black.” Then she tells a table of Black people to quiet down in a restaurant, saying, “If you don’t comply, I’ll tell the manager.”
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As the trailer goes on, Karen shows up to her new neighbor’s house with a pie, saying, “There she is, slaving away in the kitchen,” as she spies the Black female lead, played by Jasmine Burke. There’s also a confederate flag soap dispenser, and in case you really missed the point, there’s also a small white child who states, simply, “She doesn’t like Black people.” Huh, no shit?
This is an example of what happens when Hollywood asks whether Hollycould instead of whether Hollyshould. When there’s a real-life epidemic of literal white women calling the cops on Black people, and endangering their livelihoods, making a horror film about it with nary a shred of nuance is probably not the way to go.
The upside is that Karen looks so bad that it’s doubtful anyone would try a film similar for a long time. But just in case there’s still a chance, let me know if there’s a petition or GoFundMe to stop Karen from actually releasing. I got five on it.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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