Us (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

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Us Ending Commentary (with Spoilers)

Young Adelaide and Red (Madison Curry) as Red drags the real Adelaide down into the basement tunnels.
Young Adelaide and Red (Madison Curry)

 

So, long story short, Adelaide and Red switched places in 1986. Red dragged Adelaide underground into the tunnels, handcuffed her and took her place topside. What isn’t ever gone into though is who made these clones and who was keeping them alive? Yes, there were rabbits to eat, and it is noted by Red they ate them raw since there was no access to fire – leading you to wonder how Jason’s doppelganger burnt his face and has long healed from his injuries? However, how the rabbits get down there, who put the furniture down there, never mind who made all these clones, is hard to say.

Though calling them clones would be inaccurate. They are actually shadows who show they are still, to a certain degree, tethered to their host. The prime example of this is Jason who coerces his shadow to walk into a fire and burn himself to death. And on the topic of Jason, with him ending up down in the deep basement where the shadow people lived, so comes the question of whether they were even in a separate world or not? Also, why weren’t they locked up so they couldn’t get out?

I could go on and on with questions, like will Jason out Adelaide and whether Red revealed the truth to him? But only Jordan Peele could answer questions about the shadow people, as well as what happened after the massive genocide of the originals? For with the shadows having only golden scissors, to untether themselves from the hosts, and no other weapons, so comes the question if they may get massacred like the originals?

The Meaning Behind “Us”

So I was talking to a friend about the movie and it was concluded that “Us” could literally be about us. You can take that as Us, the United States, Us meaning Black people, or simply Americans. Which is how Red identifies herself when asked who they are and it pushes you to think she wants the originals to recognize they aren’t so different from them. Red and Adelaide both fear for their families, hence why she doesn’t kill Jason after he kills her child. More than likely, she planned on taking her life back.

But it doesn’t end there. You can take Jason wearing a mask as commentary about people hiding their true selves; Gabe pursuit of nice things because others have it representing capitalism and his counterpart being the effects of a system which leaves many behind and impoverished; and when it comes to Zora, who is always on her phone, tuning out the world, her counterpart represents having your eyes wide open and aware of everything.

Which isn’t to say Us is a really deep movie. As noted, it does require some thought, unlike many horror films, but I wouldn’t call it a classic. If only because this benefits more so because the horror genre has low expectations rather than saying, see this as a film, period, and it could hold its own in a general landscape.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. “A kept trying to find ways to be happy, but her smile was painted on and she was miserable. Free from the underground but still an outsider looking through the glass.”

    Of course she was miserable, her life was not her own, her parents were not her own. She learned basic human emotion, she literally learned how to talk because her parents took her to therapy. There she learned and picked up the characteristics and mannerisms of how a human should act but it was a facade. That laugh she let out, after she killed the real A and her creepy ass Thriller/Michael Jackson smile she gave Jason at the end, I think was her being her true self for the first time. No more paranoia, no more living in fear of having her secret being found out, she could now live in “peace” because the original her is now dead. When she killed the twin and when she killed the original A she let out her true soulless self, you heard her animal instincts with the grunting and growling. She definitely had to suppress a lot of things.

    Its crazy poor A “Red” just wanted her life back. As someone pointed out in a video I watched. The original A, “Red” was the only one of her doppelgangers that didn’t kill. Original A had a soul, she had a story, fake A could easily kill and give into her animal instincts because she had no soul.

    When original A told fake A to handcuff herself to the table it was because she remembered when she was handcuffed to the bed after fake A stole her life.

    But yes Zora in terms of her doppelganger definitely left a bit more to be desired but I still enjoyed her. I think that it is funny how original Zora hated running and didn’t really like it or was at least subpar yet fake Z was a sprinter and had no issue killing, along with her laughing even though she was dying.

    The part where the dad was trying to reason with the fake crew and zora was like dad nobody wants your boat the theater was laughing so loud lol

    Thoughts?

    • I hope they filmed an epilogue of some sorts. We don’t need a full-on sequel but I’d like to see a bit of a hereafter.

      On the note of A and Red, while she didn’t kill herself, Red, she did setup all the killings we did see since she pushed herself to seem like the mastermind of it all. So who is to say she wouldn’t have killed A if she wasn’t so focused on dancing around her and went for the final blow?

      • Man that dance/fight scene was everything! When Red stood up and fake A took her stance abd then the music dropped, it was too much I loved it!!!.

        I also noticed a parallel with this scene as well. During the flashback of Red and fake A dancing, you see that fake A is graceful, clean, a “true” ballerina and we see that she is dancing in an auditorium or a dancehall. While with Red we see her dance moves are much rough and violent and she isn’t graceful or clean, her tutu and hair are bit more rugged and tattered. Her audience is the souless, feral, non-speaking clones that she has found herself trapped with in the tunnels. Yet when Red and fake A face off, this time around Red is the more graceful, clean one. Her moves are more on point hence why she was able to dodge fake A’s blows. In turn fake A is more wild and violent. She was swinging the fire stick wildly and crazy. We see that she is trying her best to take Red down because she knows what she had done to her. She knows that she can’t play the “regular”, “house mom” part anymore. Her true self needs to come out. She realized that she had to be her true self in order to take Red out before Red took her out.

        Along with the fact that Red did seem like she was playing or toying with fake A for bit. Again she had a soul, she was human so her first instinct wasn’t always to kill unlike Abraham, Umbrea, and Pluto who were always feral. Especially with Umbrea and Pluto considering that Red didn’t even to get with Abraham let alone have his kids, it makes sense that the reason that they can’t speak is because Red never felt the need to teach them to speak because she had no real love or attachment towards them.

        Thoughts?

        • After watching Winston Duke’s Breakfast Club interview, it seems her attachment, Red’s, was for her long term planning. She needed to position herself as a leader and with her life mirroring A’s, she took control of the fate given to her. So when it came to her children and Abraham, her attachment stemmed from needing them to reach her goals. If she wanted revenge or freedom, she had to connect with them in a way to make them loyal. To use them like tools, she had to learn how to integrate and speak their language.

          So while I don’t think she loved them, I do think she was attached in the same way we’re attached to our phones. Is it replaceable? Yes. However, the time and effort to redo everything to make it how we need and like isn’t something we’d want to spend time on. So we grow attached to what is convenient, familiar, and easy to manipulate.

  2. Great review Amari! I just watched it yesterday and my mind is still blown with how amazing this movie is! I respect your score but I got to give this film a 9\10. Like there so much to unpack with this movie lol The soundtrack alone is what shaped this movie as well. The beginning of the movie that showed the rabbits with the creepy chant music already sucked me into the movie.

    Lupita Nyong’o was fuckin fantastic!!!! (Excuse my language) but the woman was ACTING when it came to her character. Not even when she was playing Red, but when she was just Adelaide you could see in her face and with her body language that something wasn’t right, as if something was bothering her. You could just see how nervous and ansty she was. Adelaide wearing all white throughout the movie and us (lol) watching as her clothing got redder and redder.

    Also I would agree with you about the chemistry, in the context of the story. It makes sense that Adelaide and Gabe didn’t have any chemistry because they weren’t supposed to be together. When Red tells her story she says that the Prince fell in love with the shadow. So at some point Gabe and A met, Gabe being all goofy probably didn’t pick-up or see all of the “weird” things that A was doing or talking about and just fell for her along with LN being gorgeous as well. As for A she probably felt like she had to get with Gabe in order to fulfill that sense of normalcy even though she didn’t have any real familiarity with intimacy before. If you noticed Gabe and Adelaide only kiss once in the movie, and Gabe was pretty much ignored when it came to the two of them having sex. Yes they did have the children but again I believe that it may have been more about Adelaide feeling like she needed to in order to justify her continuing to stay or live above ground and not in the tunnels. Like out of necessity as opposed to real, genuine love. Although, that’s just a theory.

    Another theory of mine is that Gabe didn’t really pick up on Adelaide’s weird behavior up until they went back to Santa Cruz because Adelaide was never that close to Red. Going back to Santa Cruz, going to the boardwalk it put her right back into the same place she so desperately wanted to escape from. She knew that Red was going to come for her because she knew exactly who she was and what she did to the original Adelaide hence her not wanting to go back. (Again just a theory.)

    Also Zora and Jason were great characters. They really held there own and both had there own moments to shine. Our theater clapped more than a few times throughout the movie it was great.

    Thoughts?

    • Taking note of what you said, it makes me wonder if A ever got to be herself or was she always wearing a mask to put out the idea she is normal? Then with Gabe, I’m wondering, since he seemed to be about status, if he was mimicking the classic wife, one son, one daughter American dream? I mean, the way he acted was of that classic father figure who worked hard, seemingly made all the money, and was weirdly goofy. Sort of like a sitcom dad.

      So it pushes the idea that maybe the shadows was the reality of how they all felt? Gabe perhaps was angry that, no matter how much he tried to fit in, he couldn’t. A kept trying to find ways to be happy, but her smile was painted on and she was miserable. Free from the underground but still an outsider looking through the glass. Even with the kids, I feel Jason wore the mask since he felt ostracized like a burn victim and figured, perhaps because he was surrounded by those his dad was trying to impress, it was his skin which made him an outsider.

      Then with Zora things get a bit tougher. I think the issue there is she felt that all anyone saw was someone who ran and could go far in that. Hence why that shadow didn’t say much. It was just she didn’t have anything and perhaps felt hollow? To be honest, Zora, while essential, left the least impression on me so I’m kind of scrapping up something to say when it comes to her.

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