Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway. Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgangers of themselves.
Us talks about some failed social experiment about how the tethered were supposed to control the people living above but we are shown that the tethered folks are in fact controlled by the folks above. The tethered folks go through the same motions as the people living above. Red talks about how she had to eat a raw rabbit when Adelaide above got to eat real food and how she had to marry Abraham and have kids Umbrae and Pluto because Adelaide married Gabe and had kids Zora and Jason.
So how come the tethered suddenly have a will of their own and can decide to come out? How can they suddenly decide to all dress in red and carry scissors? If the young Red could just come out through the tunnel what stopped the other tethered people to come out too. Why did they wait for all these years to come out and how could Red suddenly lead all the others to come out? We are told that they were at the same house a year back. So what was special or different this year? If the tethered wanted to make a statement by holding hands across America then why did they have to kill people? So there are a lot of plot holes in the movie.
Spoiler Alert Begin
There is a customary final twist in the movie where its revealed that the young Red actually swapped places with the younger Adelaide. If the young Adelaide was taken underground and imprisoned how does the grown up Adelaide (whom we think of as grown up Red) not bring that up with the grown up Red (whom we initially think as grown up Adelaide) when she speaks to her. She doesn’t talk about personal revenge for what Red did to her. Instead she identifies as tethered and is trying to take revenge for how the tethered have been treated. Why does she speak in that weird voice if she was in fact Adelaide and why couldn’t she teach her kids who just grunt to speak in her language?
Spoiler Alert End
Lupita Nyong’o was excellent as both Adelaide and Red. Winston Duke was good as Gabe and Abraham. His role was not that great. Shahadi Wright Joseph was very good as Zora and excellent as Umbrae. Evan Alex was very good as Jason and Pluto. Elisabeth Moss was good as Kitty but excellent as Dahlia. Tim Heidecker was good as Josh and Tex. Madison Curry was good as the young Adelaide and young Red.
The movie is written and directed by Jordan Peele who previously wrote and directed Get Out which was nominated for 4 Oscars and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Get Out worked well both as horror movie as well as a modern day satire on slavery.
Us is fine as an entertaining home invasion movie or a thriller but there are too many flaws or plot holes when one starts to analyze. The movie tries to bite more than it can chew. The movie tries to be a metaphor/analogy about Native Americans or illegal immigrants or may be African Americans who are able to get out of the ghetto but leave others behind but its a convoluted mess. The movie tries to be more profound than a ordinary thriller and it fails.