Universal Pictures Press
Review: Or Really Just My Thoughts about “Us” (2019)
It has been almost a week since I watched Jordan Peele’s second feature film, and I still feel haunted by it. I’m gonna dive right in assuming that you’ve already watched. So, if you haven’t, it may be a little confusing.
Being someone that grew up going to the beach every summer, the boardwalk at night had a very familiar and nostalgic feel to it. I was thinking that we’d see little Adelaide go on a few rides and have a little bit of fun, but... No. The strain between her parents almost instantly made me feel sorry for the little girl who is basically already lost and lonely.
I could put myself in Mrs. Thomas’ position and understand 100% that angsty feeling of leaving your child under the “supervision” of an adult with questionable judgement. I could read her mind... “I gotta go pee. It will take me five minutes. What’s the worst that could happen?”
And it turns out that she really has no fucking idea.
It was weird how little Adelaide just starts to walk away when her mom is gone. Now, I was lost once in an amusement park when I was little. So watching her wander off, in the dark, surrounded by so many strangers boosted my overall anxiety level through the roof. However, when she starts to travel down those dark steps by herself, I was like: “Jordan! Come on! Black People Just Don’t Do Dat!!!”
And now we know why.
She gets lost in this hall of mirrors that we know by now is connected to a system of abandoned underground tunnels. And since we’ve been all hyped over the previews, we already know she’s about to come face-to-face with “herself”. And when she does... CUT TO BLACK.
Next thing we know, Adelaide is all grown up after this traumatizing encounter with her doppelgänger and seems to be doing just fine.
Now, let me take this moment to just gush about how #GORGEOUS #Lupita is. Everything about this sista’s appearance on screen was on point! The hair! The make-up! The clothes! This woman just #GLOWS #PERFECTION!
As I was saying, Adelaide is all grown up, has a tall, dark, handsome, funny, smart, and thick drink of water for a husband, and two adorable children. And, this beautiful black family is heading to Adelaide’s family beach house in Santa Cruz... (Eat your heart out, Becky.)
They get to the beach house, and we learn that it has been a year since her mom passed away and we assume her dad has been gone for a while. Then they sit down to eat but... one of these meals is not like the other... And then, we’re vacationing in Santa Cruz, but Mama don’t wanna go to da beach?
Here is where the much welcomed distraction of her husband, Gabe begins. (Yes, that brotha can sit all up in the middle of the bed. He is so beautiful sitting there like that advertising Howard University... Can I get an AMEN?
So yes, all the greatness of Gabe helps to distract from the weirdness of Adelaide. I think it is because our first inclination is to give her a pass because of the childhood trauma. But then, the off-beat snapping, the hysterics at losing sight of her son for five minutes, and then the ultra hysterics of her not “feeling like herself” so can we just go home even though we just got here? I mean, it’s not like it was the first time they been to that house or that beach... weird.
As it turns out she was really feeling something.
What and how?
These are the two questions that hooked me until the end... even though I sort of guessed which one was the “real” Adelaide. Plus, Red’s personal vendetta becomes even more apparent when no one else killed is given the benefit of a sit down introduction and backstory. All other killings are basically: “I’m here so you’re dead now.” But, guessing that didn’t make the film any less enjoyable for me. In fact, I think it made the sickening “play-time” revenge even creepier.
You could just tell that shit was fucking personal.
The goosebump chilliness of their first encounter is shocking... Old Boy picks up the damn hide-a-key and breaks Gabe’s leg with his own damn bat! Those creepy kids slinking around the house! And that VOICE!!! "Once... upon... a time..." My hand was over my mouth during the entire story... Girlfriend had to do her own C-section!
Anyone that took note of Lupita’s performance in “12 Years a Slave” will not be surprised by her stellar performance in this film. I mean... I know this was the year for black people Oscars, but if she don’t get one next year I’ll be pissed.
I’ll skip the blood and guts... It’s more bloody though, and leads to the first of two guttural kill cries from Adelaide in front of her son, Jason. And Adelaide becomes the most complicated final girl in the history of final girls.
The ending made me feel sad. I didn’t want either of them to die. Red’s question, “Why didn’t you take me with you?” still haunts me on a very personal level. For me, that is the gut-wrenching indictment of the way we are as a society.
“I got mine... You go get yours.”
“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
“By any means necessary.”
“Us vs. Them”
But, if Red had simply asked Adelaide for help, what would have really happened? Were Adelaide’s parents in any position to adopt another child? If they had, would they have gotten along as sisters?
If not, would the real Red have been put in the system. or would the powers that be simply have put her back where she came from?
So yeah, when I think about this movie that is the question that kills me... It’s why I wish Red had lived. It’s why I hope there is a sequel or a prequel that gives her back to us somehow.
Anyway... Here are the other questions I am left with...
Why didn’t the real Adelaide just leave the tethered place and find her family again?
What was up with how Gabe killed Abraham?
Were the tethered children really the “real” Red’s children?
How was the son, Jason, controlling his doppelgänger?
I LOVE THIS FILM!!! I give it 5/5 STARS! Go see it!