First of all, this movie was a stroke of genius. I know that some people didn’t like the movie. I feel like in most cases, they might not have understood the movie. I’m not judging them, of course. There are plenty of articles and youtube videos that explain the meaning of the movie and everything in it. This post won’t really be an in-depth review. However, I’ll do as much as I can to try and explain what you may not understand without too many spoilers.
Long story short, Adelaide (the mother) and her husband, Gabe (the father) are trying to protect their family from what seems like replicas of them. The mother and father are played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, respectively. The son is played by Evan Alex and the daughter is played by Shahadi Wright Joseph. In the beginning, we see a young Adelaide walking away from her parents at the fair and finds herself at a house of mirrors. We can see that one of the reflections isn’t actually a reflection, but is in fact a girl that looks exactly like her. We are shown scenes of what happened throughout the movie and finally get the entire context at the end of the movie.
Adelaide is seen to have reservations about going to the beach. Since the traumatic experience at the fair as a kid, she had always been haunted by it. A common theme through the movie is the scripture, Jeremiah 11:11. “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” Someone on reddit believed it could be interpreted one of two ways. “The evil are the tethered, who are coming for mankind, unable to escape.” Or “The evil is the pointless suffering the tethered have to endure for the sake of humanity.”
I should probably backtrack and explain the tethered. The tethered people are clones of the people above ground forced to live underground. They do whatever we do, but more boring. For example, if we are talking to someone and their tethered person isn’t around, they are probably talking to a wall. Whenever we eat, they are forced to eat rabbits (they are cloned as well). It is believed that the tethered were created by the government to control the people above ground. Crazy experiment, I know… It is really messed up that they abandoned them because they realized they had no use of them.
The tethered versions of the main family are very weird. The mother (Red) is the only one out of all the tethered that can talk. Albeit, a very weird and harsh, a little above a whisper voice. But, I guess it’s better than grunting and groaning like the rest of the family. I don’t even know how to explain the father. The daughter looks like she needs to get some sleep and clearly likes playing with her food (figuratively). And don’t even get me started on the brother. He is oddly obsessed with fire, so much, that he burned half his face.
As the movie goes on, we can see that Adelaide has really become accustomed to killing when she needs to. She scared her own son when she killed one of the twins from the white family. Later on, with the tethered daughter dying and tethered son about to die, she didn’t really want them to suffer. At first, I believed it was simply because she sort of saw her own kids in them. But, I realized later it was a much different feeling.
One thing I found that a lot of people didn’t understand was the son and his clone. His clone liked to copy him and paid the ultimate price for it, death. To be frank, I didn’t understand why he liked to copy him either. I chalk it up to because his tethered mom had to cut him out of the womb, herself, something might have gone wrong. Maybe this led to him not exactly being sane, which would explain his obsession with fire to the point of burning himself.
Anyways, the son gets taken by the tethered mom, who is the only one left of the family. Adelaide follows them down to the intricate tunnels under the U.S. I thought it was kind of weird that she knew exactly where to go when she had never been down there. After a confrontation with her double, we are finally shown the entire scene at the house of mirrors. It turns out, her tethered double switched places with her by choking her (that explains her harsh voice) and dragging her underground. She chains her to a bed down there and leaves her there with the rest of the tethered. I’m assuming the tethered that took her place was traumatized by what she did that she blocked out the memory of it until the end. I don’t think she even understood why she knew where to go.
I love how Jordan Peele played with our emotions because we were forced to choose sides. We could choose the ORIGINAl Adelaide (Red) whose life was taken from her or the tethered Adelaide who just wanted a normal life and raise her own family. Tethered Adelaide kills the original Adelaide and saves her son.
At the end of the movie as they are driving away, we notice that the son knows something is up. He doesn’t say anything to his dad or sister. All Adelaide does is smile and the son puts his mask back on. I found it interesting that the son was obsessed with his mask. Maybe it was a phase or like most things in this movie, have a double meaning.
Considering that this movie is one giant double meaning of our darkest fears, the mask would make sense. Maybe it’s the mask we put on when we try to lie to ourselves. Adelaide suppressed the memory possibly because she didn’t want to believe that she did it. By the end of the movie, we can see that she embraces who she really is, but decides to keep it to herself.
The whole reason for the name of the movie, Us, is a double meaning for U.S. I interpret it as the U.S. is always fearful of what lays outside our borders, but we should really be concerned by what is already in our borders. Yeah, think about that…
Some people didn’t like the movie because it didn’t really have to do with race. Frankly, I’m happy it didn’t. I’m tired of every black movie dealing with race relations. For once, we have a movie with a black family as the main characters (dark-skin I might add!) and none of them die! When do we ever get that?? Almost never! So, yes, I’m grateful for this.
The acting in this movie is phenomenal and was written and directed beautifully. The movie broke a few records and hopefully, Hollywood is realizing that putting people of color as the main characters definitely brings in money at the box office!
~I give this movie a 8/10~
Us is currently still in theaters and I would highly recommend watching it then checking out a video explaining everything
about the movie including what I haven’t explained!