Us | To Think or Not to Think
After seeing Peele's latest suspense thriller US this past weekend. I figured it was necessary to do a post not so much a review, but my initial thoughts. If you go to the theater thinking that this is a "Get Out" Part 2 or even a mimeograph of "Get Out" throw that thought away before purchasing your ticket. To understand US, it comes down to one simple thing your Thought Process.
1- Critical Thinking Skills -Analyzing - Communication - Open Minded -Problem Solving
2- Logical Thinking Skills
-Review Facts Neither of these thought processes are wrong , it all depends on your up-bringing, education and personal morals. I believe the writer Jordan Peele wanted this type of response. In a day and age where we don't use our brains to the full capacity this type of ART is very much so appreciated. This will have a few spoilers so if you haven't seen US you might want to stop reading now. From start to finish this film is filled with metaphor after metaphor this film gave me much more than I expected. Not only just metaphors but also messages that we African Americans have neglected for many years when it comes to family. Our lead character Adeline (Lupita Nyong'o) deals with a trauma within the first 6 minutes in the film. The first moment we see the layers began to peal back. In the African American experience, we tend to let our children deal with their own demons, or tell them to pray on the alter rather than seeking professional help. I love the fact that Jordan is addressing Mental Health the parents did take their child to a therapist which in the 80's (the time period the film starts in) African American families did not do. We just kept family secrets and would pray for God to heal our loved ones. I'm an advocate for professional help and prayers, Seek help and also pray. It's a must! This pushes me to my next point, the lovely critics of social media did not care for the weakness of Gabe (Winston C. Duke) Let's start here, In my eyes he was not a weak man, he was educated, (Howard Sweatshirt) also a well to do middle class husband. I did notice that he was more so sensitive to his wife and her thoughts, which in no way makes him a weak man. This built for a great story line and also the use of your thought process. If you go to the beginning of the film with her parents on the boardwalk.
Addies father was a drinker and a smoker and from what i gathered he really wasn't there or didn't care much. Why would she in her adult life want to be with someone who was reminiscent of her father. I was very much so here for Gabe and all of his nerd glory. One thing I can't say enough is how Jordan address issues we tend to hide in our families. When Addie tells Gabe, about the traumatic moment of her past he pretty much freaks out. We hide so much from our potential spouse and our spouses about our families past, Listen start addressing these things early on in your relationship. You never know what can be passed through the generational birth canal. With that let’s continue the dissection of the Wilson Family. Jason who is my favorite character in this film, it’s here where I realized what we were dealing with so far PEELE has address Post Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Depression.
We see that the parents Gabe & Addie are more sensitive to Jason than Zoe, for a number of reasons, he’s the baby, the loss of grandma, and the fear of his return to the summer home, this was a wake up call that JASON had been here before. Another mental health nugget was dropped I believe that Jason might be Autistic, reason that led me to believe that we’re the mask was a sign of comfort, and to also block out bright light. Hiding in the cabinets and in small spaces, heavy frustrations, having a hard time with small things. It’s even referenced when the twin sisters say to Zora "Your brother is so weird" "Nah sometimes he just has a hard time putting things together".
The second clue that Jason had been here before he was making sand tunnels and not sand castles. Tunnels because that’s where Jason has also come from along with RED! By this point I had already been mind blown. The final of my character analysis is Zora my least favorite character, I felt Zora was very under developed but it worked well for the story! The typical teenager minding her own business but trying to find her own common ground. I feel as her character also layered another African American experience. We push our children into sports but don’t pay attention to them. We let the extra circular activity take over. It was clear she was a track star and her parents were even pushing her towards Olympic tryouts. There wasn’t much discipline with her character! A very true statement in the African American Experience. Zora felt accomplished when her parents were both unable to drive, Zora gloated by saying “I have the highest kill count, so i should drive!” This was for sure a need and moment for her own validation and some praise from her parents who more than likely have neglected her due to the many needs of Jason.
After much thought and dealing with my own emotions, I now begin to tackle the additional layers of the tethers and the messages inside of the movie! The first major thought I noticed was the scripture reference of Jeremiah 11:11 “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” The homeless man holding the poster board. We quickly knew evil was about to be present somehow. What connects is as Addie come back as an adult the same man holding the poster was dead on a stretcher being taken away still holding the same Poster. Death comes quickly. The theory from this is we often pass the homeless with no pity or shame, we lie and we make excuses for why we can’t give any spare change. I took this as a sign of judgement. The thriller T-shirt was also a big thing. Every 80’s baby was deathly scared of any thing thriller I know I was. Addies Mother also stated “I hope that doesn’t give her nightmares, you know she’s scared of that.” Addie in the fun house! It was odd that this would be the place she would meet her tether. In my initial thoughts were we see the reflection of self all the time but what does self see of us ? I also knew that the only way to beat the tethers was to kill them! In order to defeat the inner man you must kill the inner man for the outer man to manifest. The Rabbits - Rabbits have a few different meanings, the represent a new season, as well as Red had told us thats what they ate on while in captivity. In the beginning of the film the rabbits were caged i believe that this image was how we are caged animals until needed, also rabbits were used for testing in World War II. The Tethered - The tethers I feel are the representation of classism, hence them being held captive, and then seeking revenge having to live a life somewhere they didn't ask for.
This film pealed so many layers back for me, again i say it depends on how you think to fully understand the entire film. I'm not saying my theories are correct, just giving my opinion, on this amazing film that required me to think, and not just relax and look. There are a few pieces of ART i consider genius this is one of them.
- Frederick Alphonso