Us Movie Review – What Did the Ending of Us Mean – Cosmopolitan

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Like, why scissors?
Okay, this story has ALL the Us spoilers. We’re gonna talk about the ending. We’re going to talk about that twist. We’re going to talk about Winston Duke’s boxer-shorts moment. Not really on the boxer shorts but in case we weren’t clear: Do not continue reading unless you want to find spoilers for the movie Us. But you can still take this poll before you go!
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to 2017’s Get Out has the potential to get analyzed to death. The internet is searching for symbolism, deeper meaning, commentary on Generation X, and even political statements on immigration. That’s fine and definitely worthy of debate, but we won’t presume to know what was inside Peele’s head while making Us. We do know that, a few days before it premiered on March 22, Peele seemingly addressed all the theories with a simple tweet:
‘Us’ is a horror movie.
So we will listen to the guy. Our questions do not have much to do with the whole ~WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN~ of it all. Instead, we have some very basic, WTF, practical pressing inquiries that could potentially be answered by you, dear readers. Let’s jump in.
It was based on a real event called Hands Across America. The same guy responsible for that catchy song “We Are the World” came up with the idea in order to raise money to fight homelessness and hunger around the country. You can read more about it in this Vanity Fair piece.
But we still don’t get why the tethered, who seem to have joined the hand-holding chain once they killed their above-ground counterparts, created it. They weren’t taking donations for anything. They had all just committed murder. Surely there were a few regular people, like the Wilson family, who had overpowered their tethered, so weren’t they afraid those survivors might include helicopter pilots? Or like, members of the army who could drop missiles on them?
We have to conclude that they were, like the Hands Across America people, trying to make a statement. But that’s…not much of a plan!
We know that the tethered Wilsons, along with the Tylers (Elisabeth Moss and her bro-tastic husband and maniacal twin daughters), had counterparts underground. And we saw all the duplicates of the people at the carnival fairgrounds, where young Adelaide wandered to her peril.
But that’s in California, in a pretty densely populated area. If they were mirroring the people above, are we to assume that literally Idaho, Montana, Alabama, and North Dakota all had tunnels and labs and dorms precisely underneath each of the residents of their states? WTF happened when a crowded L train passed through Manhattan? What about when someone got on a plane from San Francisco to Bangkok?
At some point during Red’s horrifying first monologue, she says that “a human” or “humans” created the facility where the tethered were kept. And that they, as a species, are “Americans.” That’s pretty much all we get in terms of info about them.
Based on the look of the facility when Adelaide was young, it seemed to have already been abandoned by then, which would have been the ’80s. Adelaide has parents in the facility, so maybe we can assume the facility opened its doors in the ’50s or ’60s. But who created it? American humans. The government? A rogue scientist? For what purpose? Was this an early cloning experiment gone awry? If so, why do it on such a mass worldwide scale?
Look, we only saw this movie once, so we may have missed some glaring answer to this question. But it’s frustrating. To refresh your memory, about three-quarters of the way into the movie, Gabe has already killed his tethered Abraham on the boat, and the daughter Zora killed her tethered Umbrae by driving her into a tree. But Red and little pyro Pluto are still alive. The Wilsons drive to the beach to find the funhouse of mirrors, but in the parking lot, they run into Pluto. Jason quickly realizes they’ve run into a trap: Pluto is beckoning them to come closer, and then he will drop a lighter on a line of gasoline to their car. The family gets out, except for Adelaide, who continues approaching Pluto. BUT THEN…

…Jason somehow starts walking backward, concentrating hard, and then his tethered Pluto begins walking forward. Pluto walks all the way into another fire, killing himself because of Jason’s actions. That would be kind of a cool thing to discover, except that none of the other Wilsons ever do the same thing. If Adelaide had been able to just control Red in those final scenes, things would have been a lot easier.
Okay, that twist. Maybe we’re gullible, but we didn’t see it coming. LOVED it. Kind of brilliant, the whole thing. And it all really does seem to make sense except…how did Adelaide not remember what happened? Let’s say she was 8 years old when she walked into the funhouse. Red, ever ambitious, finds her and takes her place. So in reality, Red has been living Adelaide’s life since the age of 8. Red quickly figured out how to fit in, but she was clearly aware of the deceit once it started. So at what point did Red forget all about the switcheroo? When and how did Red come to believe that she was always Adelaide?
And! Did Adelaide, living with the tethered since the age of 8, come to believe somehow that she had always been the tethered?
Or wait: Did Adelaide’s creepy little smile in that very last shot of her, looking at Jason, mean that she’s absolutely known the truth forever? And was just trying so hard to keep the life she’d stolen?
Maybe we’ll never know. But we want to!
Other questions that we can guess the answers to, but still:
Because that’s all they had left after the “humans” abandoned them? But did they really have 300 million pairs?
From a huge supply the humans started with, we guess?
And the helicopters…were they getting ready to kill the tethered? Or were the tethered flying the helicopters?!
Just…toward the human chain? Won’t that be um, dangerous?
Probably because they never had a reason to underground and never learned language (Adelaide clearly remembered enough). But you’d think that, as humans, they would have gotten further than grunts by that point.
We have more, but we kinda want to see Us again in case all of these Qs are glaringly obvious upon second viewing. Feel free to @ us!


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