You can be forgiven for being confused at the end of Us . The movie, which creator Jordan Peele's direct debut Get Out is the abundance of metaphors – only in the Us allegory is much more ambiguous. This is partly due to the complicated relationship between the protagonist, Adelaide and the mysterious woman, Red, who comes out of her past. (Both women are played by Lupita Nyong in an incredible dual performance.)
If you have already seen the movie, then you know that there is much more to connecting the two women than just a case of stalking. But you may not have caught all the details ̵
So let's go through it. Spoilers ahoy!
There are three major tracks that tell us about women's identities
To break down the film's end, we must of course reveal the giant plot twist, so here goes: When the two girls met in the carnival labyrinth years ago, they changed places.
One from the underground – trying to escape from horrible slavery down below – attacked and kidnapped the above, and replaced her in her old life as "Adelaide." The girl, formerly known as Adelaide, then grew up in captivity underground, known as "Red." At the same time, the new replacement Adelaide apparently suppressed her memory of what happened and grew up believing that she was the real Adelaide. Today, Red has become the leader of the underground slave rebellion.
All this makes it difficult to say who is the deceiver and who is the victim. And that's the whole point. But before we think about it too closely, let's look at the big tracks we get that tell us what's really going on. (Note: From here we run the original Adelaide "Red" and the replacement Adelaide "Adelaide.")
1) For red, the color represents red and freedom and memory of her old life
The color red seems to be a powerful trigger for Red. The last thing she eats before she is kidnapped and taken to the ground is a bright red apple. We get several prominent shots of it before she enters the maze – one of the last things she sees is a bright red "Exit" sign.
She is then forced to shop places with Adelaide, who puts her own Hands over America sweatshirt on Red and takes the other girl's Thriller T-shirt instead. Handing over America's shirt is another obvious link to Red for her past life over the earth. The figures on it are also colored in red, so when she eventually leads her fellows, she puts up slaves, stands up, has them all, reds the color and recreates the image.
2) Red is the only one of Tethered who knows English
Although the voice is rusty from unused, Red clearly speaks English – in fact, she begins with the phrase "once", meaning that her last memory of spoken language probably involved hearing children's stories.
But she is the only one of the escaped Tethered slaves who do. She notes that the others all have become insane from the deprivation of their lives during which they are essentially forced (by powers unknown) to mimic the movements of a torture echo of their overlying counterparts. It manifests itself as a primitive form of communication that sounds like incoherent noise to us. But it is a real language; We see the slaves using it to communicate several times. For example, when Abraham (Gabe's dual) is out on the boat, he hears a call from one of the other slaves in the distant and calls them again.
Meanwhile, Adelaide seems to occasionally lose her understanding of English as she approaches to uncover the truth. On several points, she seems to be struggling for coherent languages, and early on she tells her friend Katie that sometimes she has difficulty talking – as we realize she literally means. And, crucially, when she finally kills Red, she lets a deep roar resemble Tethered's primary call – as if she finally remembers her native language.
3) "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" is a trigger Adelaide to fully remember what she did
Horror movie audience loves to clap when the hero finally defeats the villain – but, interestingly, did not happen in anyone of my opening evenings US Us and a informal study suggest that the audience was more disturbed than happy at the moment Adelaide finally defeated Red.
This is probably due to the subtle traces we get that Adelaide is not completely the victim. In fact, at some point, near the end, Adelaide pursues Red with a limp that just mimics Jack Torrance near the end of The Shining while continuing his murderous rage. But Adelaide does not seem to by that she is the kidnapper who originally grew up Tethered – that is, until the last moments of Red's life.
In the climax of the film, Adelaide has killed the wound Red; Red spends her last moments doing something unexpected: she whistles. Tune she whistling is "They Bitsy Spider" – the last song she had stuck in her head before she was kidnapped. (The song also encourages the slaves' rise to freedom by "creeping up" the water spout, ie the sewers to their escape.)
The moment Adelaide hears the song, her face changes, and she immediately tries to silence Red, although red is already dying. When she brutally snaps Red's throat, her expression becomes almost pleasing, and she lets the aforementioned primal war become laughable.
But this moment's consciousness is immediately followed by denial. When she saves her son, Jason, she tells it amazingly that now things will be like they were before. If that line sounded hopelessly naive or wrong – after the mass killings of what seems to be millions of people across the country, it is clear that nothing will be the same – that is because it was born out of Adelaide's desperate personal desire to forget what she just remembered: her own past.
And that's a big theme for Us overall. The film constantly reminds its audience that America's history is a story that is constantly forgotten or overwritten, as the genocide of Indians whose iconography is mapped and then quickly rebuilt for the maze that begins the story. Signs are often spoken of forgetting things; Adelaide's entire character is rooted in forgetting.
Those who do not want to lose their memories are those who remain underground. ("I have never forgotten you," says Red Adelaide.) This is because they are not only forced to live races of "real" life without any body over their own bodies or identities, but they are the only witnesses to their own misery and slavery. In the Red World, a good memory is the key to escape.
But while Red tells Adelaide that the two are special, Us takes us to undermine our expectations to make a cold point that none of this is at all – that it is important that the underground slaves are. In fact, they are like us because they are us.
Us sets out the idea that Tethered is others when they are anything but
Through their sheer strangeness – their insidious movements, their violence, their primal language, their eerie smile, and their apparent lack of purpose about "killing everyone and holding many hands" – we are going to think of Tethered as others early. They are monstrous, and their physical resemblance to those above the earth creates only a creepy valley that makes them so scary.
This assumption – the Doppels are different, shadow figures – helps cement the audience's belief that Adelaide must have successfully escaped from the carnival maze. After all, compared to Red, she is so completely human, so highly emotional, so loving and caring – right?
So the revelation she was born in the Underground is the cause of us for several reasons. It not only makes us think differently about Adelaide itself, but it forces us to rethink our view of the rest of Tethered. They are clearly as human as we are – able to live completely self-realized and happy life over the earth.
And this is where Peele's metaphorical work really pays off. Because once we begin to think of the subsoil as an allegorical space representing dehumanized and marginalized bodies, then suddenly "we" are forced to contend with the disturbing idea that perhaps the only things that separate us from different "themes" "- the countless marginalized communities in society – is chance and privilege. And even this is not enough to completely interrupt us. We are all that the film repeats, not only to each other, but also to our country's past and present sins, to the people and cultures we have tried to erase and reduce. And that connection connects its tracks even when we try to deny it.
Maybe this is what makes the film's last scene so demanding. Although Adelaide has protected her family and escaped the dangerous Red Exodus, she must now relate to the reality of what she did with Red at first. And what's even more important is that her son, Jason, now also knows it. As we all know, past sins have gone down to our children – so that they can continue, learn, or deny it again.