With Jordan Peele‘s hit movie Us now heading into its third weekend of release, it’s fair to say a good number of people have seen it. The film follows the Wilson family as their family vacation is upended by the arrival of a doppelgänger family.
The Wilsons fight for their survival against their “Tethered” counterparts with haunting implications. As such, many people are now aware of the film’s twist ending and are divisive about it.
There are those who feel Peele does a little too much handholding with the exposition dump that follows the twist, while there are those who are completely fine with it. Arguments can be made for both, depending on personal tastes.
For those who haven’t seen Us yet, here is your spoiler warning…
Now that the warning has been given, it is revealed in the film’s third act that Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), the woman we have been following throughout this film, has in fact been the doppelgänger all along. In the film’s opening scene we see a young Adelaide (Madison Curry) wander into a funhouse of mirrors where she originally encounters her doppelgänger, but the scene is cut short and we’re left to assume that she ran away safely back to her parents.
As revealed in the third act twist, it’s shown that the doppelgänger had in fact incapacitated the young Adelaide by choking her, later chaining Adelaide to her bed in the underground complex, and left to take her place in the world above.
The implications of this reveal are made when Adelaide, sitting in the backseat of a car that Gabe (Winston Duke) has commandeered, turns to Jason (Evan Alex), giving him a smile reminiscent of the ones seen on the other Tethered. Jason is left with a look that implies of some level of understanding of just who his mother really is.
With the aim of explaining just why he chose to go to the lengths of playing out the reveal, writer and director Jordan Peele discussed the twist with the Empire podcast.
“This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in the movie is the surrogate for the audience, so it felt like at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie,” Peele explained. “We’ve been following the villain. I say ‘villain’ lightly because I think there are many experiences of the film, and I think a lot of people go through a question of what is good and evil? Does that even exist? Both characters are lovable and terrifying, based on the lives they’ve led they’ve just sort of inverted the paths.”
While his creative decision may not have the shock and awe of simply ending the film on Adelaide’s smile, leaving her identity ambiguous on the whole, it isn’t a decision that was made lightly or without any real purpose. Peele made the call to focus on the themes presented in the film and while it may not work for others or be as a shocking, the haunting implications of that smile are still left with the character of Jason and the suspicions he now lives with. ~Paolo Maquiraya