Jordan Peele's Us: the big rebound, explained


You can be forgiven for the confusion at the end of We. The film, like the debut of director Jordan Peele get out, is plagued by metaphors – only in We, the allegory is much more ambiguous. This is partly because of the complex relationship between the main character, Adelaide, and the mysterious woman, Red, who seems to be coming out of her past. (Both women are played by Lupita Nyong'o in an amazing double performance.)

If you have ever seen the movie, you know there are many more connections between the two women than a simple case of stalking. But you may not have grasped all the details – or how the connection between Adelaide and Red ultimately contributes to enriching the film's overall symbolism.

So let's go through it. Spoilers ahoy!

spoiler, aquaman

Three main clues tell us about the identity of women

To break the end of the film, we must of course reveal the giant plot, so here is: when the two girls met in the carnival labyrinth a few years ago, they changed places.

That of the basement – trying to escape the horrible slavery downstairs – attacked and removed the top one, replacing it in her former life of Adelaide. "Red". In the meantime, the new replacement Adelaide apparently suppressed her memory of what happened and grew up believing herself to be the real Adelaide. Nowadays, Red has become the leader of the clandestine slave rebellion.

All of this makes it difficult to tell who the impostor is and who the victim is. And that's all the essential. But before we think too closely, let's look at the big clues that tell us what's really going on. (Note: From now on, we will call the original Adelaide "Red" and the alternate Adelaide "Adelaide".)

1) For red, the red color represents freedom and its memory of its old life

The red color seems to be a powerful trigger for red. The last thing she eats before being kidnapped and taken to the subway is a bright red apple. We've had several well-visible shots before entering the labyrinth – where one of the last things she sees is a bright red "Exit" sign.

She is then forced to swap places with Adelaide, who puts her own Hands Across America pullover on Red and takes the Thriller T-shirt instead. The That Hands Across America shirt is another obvious link between Red and his old life on the surface. The characters are also colored in red. That's why, when she ends up bringing up her captive slave comrades, she makes them all take on the red color and recreate the image.

2) Red is the only one of the captives to know English

Although his voice is rusty by his obsolescence, Red speaks clearly English. In fact, it begins with the phrase "once upon a time," which makes sense since his last memory of the spoken language most likely involved listening to children's stories.

But she is the only one among escaped captive slaves who does it. She notes that the others have all become mad about the deprivation of their lives downstairs, in which they are essentially forced (by unknown powers) to mimic the movements of life in a tortuous echo of their counterparts above the ground. This manifests itself as a primitive form of communication that seems to us to be an incoherent noise. But it is a real language; we see that the slaves use it to communicate several times. For example, when Abraham (Gabe's double) is on the boat, he hears a call from one of the other slaves in the distance and calls him in turn.

Meanwhile, Adelaide seems to lose her understanding of English from time to time as she gets closer to the truth. On several occasions she seems to struggle for a coherent language and, very early, she tells her girlfriend Katie that she sometimes has trouble speaking – which, we realize, literally means. And most of all, at the moment when she finally kills the Red, she utters a roar similar to the primal calls of the Tethered – as if she finally remembered her mother tongue.

3) "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" is a trigger for Adelaide to fully remember what she's done

Horror moviegoers love to applaud when the hero finally triumphs over the villain – but that, interestingly, did not happen in my opening night. We clues and a informal survey suggests that the audience was more upset than happy when Adelaide finally defeated Red.

This is probably due to the subtle clues we have obtained that Adelaide is not entirely the victim. In fact, at one point, near the end, Adelaide pursues Rouge with a limp that mimics that of Jack Torrance towards the end of the year. The brilliant as he continues his deadly rampage. But Adelaide does not seem know that she is the kidnapper who grew up originally attached – that is, until the last moments of Red's life.

In the climax of the film, Adelaide fatally wounded Red; Red uses her last moments to do something unexpected: she whistles. The song she whistles is "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", the last song she kept in mind before she was kidnapped. (The song also refers to the slave's ascent to freedom by "crawling" up the water chute, ie the sewers, to escape them.)

As Adelaide hears the song, her face changes and she immediately tries to silence Red, even though he is already dying. As she suddenly breaks Red's neck, her expression becomes almost joyful and she lets out the aforementioned primal scream that turns into laughter.

But this moment of awareness is immediately followed by a denial. When she saves her son, Jason, she tells him, unbelievably, that now things will be as before. If this line seemed desperately naive or misplaced – after the massive massacre of what appears to be millions of people across the country, nothing will ever be the same – that's because it was born of personal desire Desperate for Adelaide to forget what she just remembered: her own past.

And it's a huge theme of We, globally. The film constantly reminds the public that the history of the United States is that of history perpetually forgotten or crushed, like the genocide of the Amerindians, whose iconography is briefly appropriate then hastily reshaped for the labyrinth that begins the story. The characters often talk about forgetting things; All of Adelaide's character is rooted in oblivion.

Those who do not have the luxury of losing their memories are those who stay underground. (Red says Adelaide to Red: "I never forgot you.) That's because they are not only forced to live close to the" real "life without any authority on their own. body or their identity, but they are the only witnesses of their own misery and enslavement. In the world of Red, a good memory is the key to escape.

But while Red tells Adelaide that the two of them are special, We take care to undermine our expectations to make it clear that none of this is special – it's the importance of knowing how ordinary the underground slaves are. In fact, they are like us because they are we.

We defines the idea that attach├ęs are others, when they are anything but

By their sheer strangeness – their hunting movements, their violence, their primordial language, their scary smiles and their apparent lack of purpose that goes beyond "killing everyone and often holding hands", it comes quickly to think of Tethered as Others. They are monstrous and their physical resemblance to those above the ground only establishes a strange valley that makes them even more frightening.

This assumption – that the Doppelgangers are different, ghost figures – helps to comfort early public opinion that Adelaide must have successfully escaped the carnival labyrinth. After all, compared to Red, she is so fully human, so powerfully emotional, so affectionate and caring, right?

The revelation that she was born in the subway challenges us for many reasons. Not only does this make us think differently to Adelaide herself, but it also forces us to reconsider our view of the rest of the Tethered. Obviously, they are just as human as us: able to lead a fully realistic and happy life, above their soil.

And this is where the metaphorical work of Peele really bears fruit. Because once we start thinking of the basement as an allegorical space that represents dehumanized and marginalized bodies, we are suddenly forced to struggle with the troubling idea that maybe the only things are that separate us from the various "thems" – of innumerable marginalized communities – are a chance and a privilege. And even that is not enough to separate us completely. As the film reiterates, we are all attached not only to each other, but also to the sins of the past and present of our country, to the peoples and cultures that we have tried to erase and diminish. And this connection leaves traces, even when we try to deny it.

This is perhaps what makes the final scene of the film so painful. Even though Adelaide protected her family and escaped the danger Red was representing, she must now face the reality of what she did to Red to begin with. And what is even more significant is that his son, Jason, seems to know it too. As we all know, the sins of the past are passed on to our children – whether they perpetuate, learn or deny.


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