Horror Us: clones, soullessness, apocalypse. The film Us (2019): plot, meaning, explanation of the ending
Country: USA, China, Japan
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Detective, Comedy
Year of production: 2019
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Actors: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
tagline: “Our worst enemy is us”
At one time, Jordan Peele rocked the cinema with his daring social horror comedy Get Out. The plot and meaning of the film Us, presented by this very outside-the-box thinking director, is more serious and deeper. However, this picture is also based on social metaphors. It has a hidden meaning and many interesting references.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the content of the film Us. The picture begins with a small mise en scene from the past. Eighties, Santa Cruz resort. A girl named Adelaide, looking for adventure, enters the House of Laughter and sees an attraction called Find Yourself. It is a mirror maze. There she notices a real girl, her exact copy. This greatly frightens her and, returning to her parents, she is speechless for some time.
Frame from the film.
More than 20 years have passed since then. Grown-up Adelaide again goes on vacation to Santa Cruz with her husband and children. Before the trip, she is very worried – this is not fully forgotten childhood trauma makes itself felt. But her husband Gabe Wilson reassures her: they are just going for the weekend, nothing bad will happen to them.
Arriving at the resort, Adelaide and her husband begin to unpack things. Their son Jason goes to the beach and sees a lonely man in a red jumpsuit there. He stands with bloodied hands outstretched. For some reason, the frightened boy does not tell his parents about the terrible meeting, but he sketches the man.
Late in the evening, before going to bed, the family notices four people standing in the driveway of their beach house. All of them are dressed in red overalls and hold scissors in their hands. Despite Gabe’s attempt to scare them off, they force their way into the house.
With incredible horror, the Wilsons suddenly realize that the attackers are like two drops of water similar to themselves. At the same time, they are their 100% antipodes. The attack is led by Red, Adelaide’s doppelgänger. She is the only one who can talk – everyone else remains eeriely silent. Red gives the frightened Wilsons an explanation: they are their shadows, but they have the opposite: if Gabe and Adelaide are happily married, then Red and Abraham do not love each other. That is, they just want to take revenge on the lucky ones and finally start living a normal life.
After that, the shadow people start chasing their doppelgangers. However, the Wilsons manage to escape on a boat, which the prudent Gabe, who killed his nightmarish double in a fight, took with him on vacation.
Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide, Evan Alex as Jason, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora, Winston Duke as Gabe. Frame from the film.
They get to the neighbors’ house and find them dead. Having dealt with the twins of the neighbors, the Wilsons decide to figure out what kind of surf is going on. The only source of information here is the TV, and by turning it on, the family learns that the entire country has been attacked by doppelgangers calling themselves “The Bounts”.
Trying to get out of the resort, the Wilsons take a neighbor’s car and drive to their own car parked on the waterfront. There, they are attacked by another “Bond”, but they kill him. However, Red appears on the scene again and kidnaps Jason. Adelaide comes to a hunch: you need to look for the boy in the mirror maze, where she first met her double many years ago.
A young woman discovers a passage that leads to some secret chamber underground. There, Adelaide meets Red. She tells her about the government’s terrible experiment. It turns out that all doubles were created in order to control society. They were supposed to play the role of puppeteers, and allegedly the originals – puppets. However, it soon became clear that the “Connected” could not be real people. They were lured into an underground trap and thrown there. For many decades they have been there, studying their happy counterparts and copying their actions. Red helped them escape from there, and she became the leader of their resistance. Adelaide, seizing the right moment, attacks her and kills her in a fight. After that, she finds Jason, and they leave the “House of Laughter”.
Us Ending explanation
The explanation for the ending of the film “Us” looks like this. Near the end, the reunited Wilsons leave town. Unexpectedly, Adelaide again recalls an incident from her childhood. However, this time they are different: from her memories it becomes clear that she is Red, who has taken the place of Adelaide in the surface world.
And it happened in the following way. After the encounter in the maze, Red stunned Adelaide, pulled her into the maze, and took her place. A real, living girl grew up in a creepy world of clones. Red, meanwhile, was adopted by Adelaide’s parents, learned to speak normally, grew up and led the life of an ordinary American for a long time. However, Adelaide did not reconcile herself – she decided to return at all costs. And that required a plan.
At the very beginning of the film, little Adelaide saw an action shown on TV called “Join Hands Across America.” Its meaning was to raise funds for the homeless and the poor. Young Adelaide remembered this action and decided to repeat it – only with clones. She prepared the action for more than twenty years, rose to the surface, but was eventually killed by her evil clone.
In the finale, a huge number of people across the country line up in a long chain … It becomes clear that the “Connected” have penetrated our world.
Lupita Nyong’o played the lead role of Adelaide. Frame from the film.
The meaning of the film Us
“Us” is a really creepy movie. This is one of the few horror games that can truly scare. The plot, of course, does not withstand the slightest criticism in terms of realism, but this was probably done intentionally.
In their analysis, viewers offer the following explanation for everything that happens in the film “Us”: we are made by our environment. Red became who she is, with the help of the blessings of civilization and the accumulated knowledge of all those who lived before her. She was able to live a normal life despite being a clone, only because she didn’t live in a tunnel, but on the surface. This is only one of the interpretations, but it was the director himself who voiced it.
Speaking about the essence of the film, Peel mentioned that he grew up in a family that belonged to the middle class and took it for granted most of his life. He also said that only by birthright from childhood he received good “buns” – while someone else, other things being equal, was deprived not only of comfort, but at least of acceptable living conditions. “I didn’t decide who and where to be born, but this does not relieve me of responsibility.”
It turns out that the main message of this picture is social stratification? Perhaps so: the idea of cosmic injustice is really illustrated here: someone enjoys all the benefits of civilization (although he himself did not make any effort) while the same people are forced only to imitate life – simply because they are unlucky with country, time, city or family.
However, we are our own enemies. Who said that the life of an ordinary major is better than the life of a person who achieves success thanks to his own work and talent? Most people forget that it is possible, indeed possible, to achieve something without the notorious money and connections. Conditional “us” grumble, blame the government and the environment for our troubles – that is, we do not live, but imitate life.
The film “Us” is saturated with metaphors and symbols that contain hidden meanings. For example, the key to the images of the “Bound”, or shadows, lies in the fact that they symbolize our secret desires, dirty thoughts and secret instincts. The meaning of their appearance is this: if you do not learn to accept your own “shadow”, sooner or later it will come out, and the person will definitely show his true face.
Evan Alex played the role of Jason, Shahadi Wright Joseph played the role of Zora Wilson. Frame from the film.
And still. How did the clones live in the tunnels all this time and why didn’t the evil government destroy them? Where did they get their clothes? Why couldn’t they speak, but Red eventually did? Why did Adelaide begin to speak badly – she forgot how? You can think of many more awkward questions.
There is a feeling that Jordan Peele took a too extensive and complex theme of duality, dualism, the struggle of opposites and tried to reveal it with the help of an intricate story, but in the end he himself got confused in the plot.
However, in the end, the film turned out to be deeper than intended. The sharp topics raised in it, such as social inequality, the consumer society, stereotypes, are certainly important. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. A couple of minutes before the end of the film, the very thing appears, most importantly, for the sake of which it was created. The clones wanted to take the place of their counterparts and, it would seem, they succeeded. However, they still did not become real people – and they never will. And all because they have no soul.
What is a soul? Is it given from birth as a divine gift? Or is it something that can be “worked out” – obtained by one’s own efforts?.. There is such a variant of the answer: the soul is something imperceptible. It cannot be put into a doll or a robot. Yes, something similar can be written into the program, but it will be just an imitation.
In the end, the clones broke free. Does this mean that we, if we continue to follow the intended course, will turn into soulless and unspiritual likenesses of ourselves? There is a reference to the Bible in the picture – in particular, to the prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah (verse 11:11 – this numerical value is found throughout the picture). It talks about the future end of the world. And in the “Apocalypse” of John the Theologian prophesies about people who will live in the last times. If you look at a Jordan Peele painting from this angle, it becomes completely uncomfortable and very creepy.
Frame from the film.
Here are a few pictures similar in meaning to “Us”:
- “Get Out” (USA, Japan, 2017). A black young man visits his white girlfriend’s wealthy parents for the weekend. He soon realizes that he is trapped and is preparing to sell his life dearly.
- “Parasite” (South Korea, 2019). A young man from a poor family is on a gamble to find employment for his family. But one day something goes wrong.
- “Funny Games” (USA, France, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, Italy, 2007). The family arrives at their country house. Soon they will meet the guests of their neighbors and go through a real hell.