I know this movie has been released for a long time now (March 22,2019) and has been in circulation also for some time and many focks must have already watched it but I couldn’t help my self as I just loved the symbolism this movie brings with it. If you are looking for a logic in the story line you will miss it sometimes but if you are looking for duality and symbolism you will find many such instances. But wait isn’t this a horror flick about a black family ?? Yes absolutely it is!! But rather then a horror one I will put it in the thriller genre. Because It’s not about the ghosts outside but about fighting our inner demons and knowing who we truly are!! And sometimes we don’t even realize how big our demons have become!! So here is a spoiler free Verdict of the movie.
Promising debutante director & writer Jordan Peele of “Get Out” gives us a movie full of metaphors, thrills and twists. There are a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders and he does not disappoint. Isn’t he the same Peele from those funny videos on “YouTube” you ask ??? Yeah, he’s the one. And his performance is the best here too. I hope you know that this guy won an academy award for his screenwriting for his 1st outing “Get Out”. Yup… Noooo shit!!!
I bet that once you have seen this movie you will be forced to understand the meaning of the entire movie and hidden meanings it has to offer. The movie works like a mirror of our real world and we don’t see anything new but it is actually a completely new Horror-Thriller Genre. And you will also agree that Jordan Peele is a genius. Do you get what I am getting at?? The duality of our world.
The movie is set into two eras – 1986 and present day America. In 1986 Adelaide – a young girl is on a family trip at a beach in Santa Cruz and she walks into a shack with the name that reads “Vision Quest : Find Yourself”. In the hallways of mirror she sees her doppelganger. She suffers a great trauma due to this and goes totally silent.
In the present day , Adelaide (Lupita Nyongó) is happily married to Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and they have two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). They belong to the upper middle class and are back to Santa Cruz at their vacation home to chill out where they are greeted by an entire family of their Doppelgangers. Man of the house tries to be the man and show his machismo to which no heed is paid by the doppelganger family. Adelaide tries to make Gabe understand the futility of it but he doesn’t get swayed by it.
And then there is a regular chase and run. A murder here and there etc and it becomes slowly clear that its a female protagonist movie as the hand that rocks the cradle makes the world go around. One more duality. And we all man think that it’s us who run the world. The entire movie is filled with these duality symbols and metaphors. Acting of Lupita Nyong’o is just great. If someone deserves an Oscar she does for her portrayal of Adelaide. Acting of every actor is up to the mark but she stands apart from all. Especially in her portrayal of Doppelganger.
All of them are listed below.
- The Tethered – Tethered represent a class divide that is ever present in our world be it either capitalism or communism. Classes have always been there whether we realize them to be existent or not. In capitalism there are rich and poor / common man. In communism there are Powerful, rich and poor / common man. And wealthy make the labors suffer so that they can enjoy their extravagant lifestyles and don’t ever realize what labors have to go through everyday of their life. And still wealthy cant exist without the labors. Wealthy are tethered to their labor counterparts so much so that if they declare a strike their castles can come crashing down. You see this happening in the movie too.
- The scissors – Scissors represent a duality. They are both harmless and dangerous. You can use it to cut your ties with the Tethered and also use them to kill someone. Here the doppelgangers use it to murder their extravagant counterparts who have no idea that they exist or do they ?
- The Underground Tunnels – As the movie title suggests it is about U.S.A. or its way of living. And there are plenty of Underground tunnels in the entire U.S.A where ever you go and they have all been forgotten just like in the movie. As per Will Hunt, the author of the book “Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet.” who has explored many of these tunnels first hand , “The scope of this tunnels will surprise you”. This stands for our subconscious – our daily habits. We spend so much time on such mundane activities that we don’t realize that we have become such big consumers of it and rather then us controlling these urges they control us. Be it binge watching movies or series, playing video games for hours and hours , drinking , smoking, eating out etc that we feel that we can’t live without them. Humanity has survived for many years by understanding themselves better and it seems like we have lost ourselves in the race of becoming other then what we are. And that’s why the director wants us to search for our true selves.
- Number 11:11 – This is a recurring theme in the entire movie and you will find these numbers appear at many instances. It represent a verse of the bible which is called Jeremiah 11:11 and it goes like this. “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.” Spooky right !!! But this is kind of a warning message for us- the audience, that if we don’t mend our ways the end is near and we must find ourselves fast or all will be lost. When you watch the movie notice the first person standing in the line. You will understand the importance of it.
- Us – The title itself has a duality hidden in it. It can mean both U.S. or U.S.A and it can also mean us- ourselves. We are both the problem and the solution. And for a solutions we don’t need to look outside but inside. This is what is being taught to us since thousands of years in various books/ poems/ folklore but we are still looking for happiness and containment outside rather then looking inside.
- Thriller T-shirt – When Adelaide first meets her doppelganger she is seen wearing the T-shirt with “Thriller”plastered on it. Thrillers is the most successful album from the stable of late Micheal Jackson. And it is one of the highest selling album ever till date. See the screen shot below to get the idea. Its a contemporary favorite of the critics which is also the pop culture icon to first ever highlight the differences between the outside and inside “Üs”.
- Red jumpsuits and Single glow – One more symbols representing Micheal Jackson. His entire life is about Duality. He was the most famous pop icon who was Black and he chose to transform himself to be a white. Is that one of the secret for him being so famous?
- Hands across america – This was a real life event which was held on 25th May,1986. And this one is the one that is deeply resonating of them all. Some 6.5 million people held their hands across America for 15 minutes. Participants donated 10 dollars to stand in line. This movement raised $35 million and only $15 million was distributed after cutting operating costs. It was held for supporting Africa and Homeless in America. But then the line was broken at many places while in this movie the doppelgangers hold their line to farther places and it is continuous across the continent. Are they the real Us?
- Rabbits – The rabbits are a recurring item in the movie and they represent the Rabbit that appears in the Alice in wonderland. It tumbles down the hole but is no longer in a wonderland but caged to be devoured!!! That represents our own imagination and true meaning of being human which is caged in this Consumerist world which does not wonder to build new dreams!!! Just classic.
- Werewolf mask – Jason is seen wearing the werewolf mask in the entire movie. One more connection to the Thriller by Micheal Jackson ? Or is it defining the movie Genre ? Or is it one more twist in the movie story ??
If you haven’t still seen it I implore you all to see this masterpiece. Just check out the critic score it holds on all the leading websites. A must watch.
Score – 4* / 5*
Courtesy and references
Universal , YouTube,Wikepedia, escuire.com, popsugar.com,