[Spoilers for Us, obviously]
For the first two acts, Us is a straightforward (relatively speaking) home invasion movie about a family being attacked by themselves. But things get twisty and mind-bending in the third act, especially in the final minutes when it’s revealed that the “real” Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) was living among the Tethered underground — and Tethered Adelaide, also known as Red, among us — after she was replaced by her double as a child. Got it? It makes sense if you see the movie (I mean, sort of). To help break things down further, Oscar-winning writer and director Jordan Peele recently went on the Empire podcast to explain why he went with that ending and WHAT IT ALL MEANS.
“This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group,” he said. “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. 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.” Only one feasted on adorable bunnies, though.
Peele also discussed that look between Adelaide and son Jason at the end of the film, which has led to a host of theories.
“Adelaide and Jason sharing that moment at the end, I’m purposefully leaving it a bit vague as to what exactly he knows or how far he’s come in figuring out what, if anything, he’s figured out. I think the little smile she gives him is a lot of things. 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.”