Jordan Peele’s new move Us hit theaters a couple of weeks ago. It made a ton of money ($70 million on its opening weekend alone), earned solid (although not spectacular) critical reviews, and got movies fans all over the internet debating the meaning behind the film’s ending.
It should go without saying, considering the headline of this article, but MAJOR SPOILERS are ahead. So only continue reading if you’ve already seen Us, or simply don’t care if the ending is ruined for you.
After the Wilson family successfully managed to survive the various attacks by their Tethered selves, it’s revealed that Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her Tethered self had actually switched places inside the funhouse as a child. It’s supposed to be the twist ending, but there were plenty of clues throughout the movie that caused many viewers to not be overly surprised at the reveal.
So what does it all mean? The original underground version of Adelaide obviously grew up in the “normal” world, met a man, got a job, had a family. While the “normal” child grew up underground, turning into a vengeful, murderous leader of a strange rebellion. During a recent appearance on The Empire Film Podcast, Peele was asked about the unique ending and what it meant to him.
“This movie’s about maybe the monster is you,” Peele told Empire’s Chris Hewitt. “It’s about us kind of looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in a 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. We’ve been following the villain.”
It’s an interesting perspective. We find ourselves rooting for Adelaide (and her husband Gabe) for the entire movie, but then we are forced to question that when the credits role. The movie asks a bigger question about whether we ever ask ourselves the difficult questions about who we support in real life, whether that be political support or in our friendships and personal relationships. Ask yourself: are you really rooting for the good guys in your daily life? Are you sure they are the good guys?
Peele also commented on the almost-knowing smile that Adelaide shoots towards her son Jason at the end of the film.
“I think the little smile she gives him is a lot of things,” he said. “I think it’s a connection to the evil smile she once had as a little girl, but also a sort of understanding that her family unit was stronger from this experience.”
If you loved Us, or just want to hear analysis from Peele himself, check out the entire podcast episode right here.