US: The Reflection of the U.S.

Simi Kaushik '20, Marymount News Editor

At this point in time, many of you have probably heard of the critically acclaimed movie Us. Even though the film was only released on March 22nd, Us has already made waves all across the nation, leaving many viewers confused and deep in thought upon its completion. The phenomenal mastermind behind this movie, Jordan Peele, the director of Get Out, said he created this movie with a vision that extended far beyond a psychological thriller. Instead, he wanted to convey a prevalent political statement. The film begins in the past, following a young Adelaide Thomas who wanders away from her parents and into a funhouse at the beach where she encounters a doppelganger of herself. The subsequent events of this interaction are not immediately revealed; however,  it is implied that something traumatic occurred with Adelaide, as from that point on, she has trouble speaking and communicating with other people. Flash forward into the present: Adelaide is now seen as an adult woman, with a husband and two kids, and as part of their family vacation, they decide to visit the same beach where Adelaide had her “strange experience” years prior. One night, Adelaide and her family encounter another family standing in their driveway, who ultimately breaks into their home. This “other family” is composed of doppelgangers of Adelaide and her family, yet none of them can speak, with the exception of Adelaide’s doppelganger, who addresses herself as Red. The story progresses in a fast-paced, action-filled manner, and we quickly learn that Red is a part of an underground group called the “tethered”; we also learn that Red has plotted a revolution for the tethered people and they will finally be taking action in order to seek revenge against the rest of humanity. Although certain concepts such as these may seem confusing at first, they are a part of the bigger political and thought-provoking message that Peele wants his audience to digest.

Peele dissects what the film alludes to by stating, “This movie is about this country. We’re in a time where we fear the other, whether it’s the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us and take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near, who voted a different way than us. We’re all about pointing the finger. And I wanted to suggest that maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil, it’s us.” His metaphor is quite literally played out in the movie. Adelaide and her family face the tethered versions of themselves; these tethered people live in far harsher conditions compared to the humans living “above” yet despite calling themselves Americans, they are abandoned and ignored by the rest of humanity. The tethered people represent the underrepresented minority groups in America, and their inability to speak represents how so many of these people in the lower classes of America are silenced. Additionally, the tethered people look up to the add, “Hands Across America”, as they all literally unite and hold hands all across America to make their point. Throughout the film, it is easy to think of the tethered people as the main antagonists, but Peele wants us to view them as not only humans but marginalized Americans who are trying to find their place in society. This film is designed to not be easily forgotten upon completion; instead, it truly stares back at you, making you question the realities of living in America.