You wouldn’t be alone if you furiously Googled things like Jerimiah 11:11 or Hands Across America after watching Us from Jordan Peele. In the week’s following the film’s premiere, the internet sifted through scenes for symbolism, collected easter eggs, and theorised on that twist. Hop on Reddit and you’ll find a handful of genius and batshit theories but if you’ve had enough of that, Peele himself has helped fans by breaking down the ending and core theme.
Once again, major spoilers ahead.
As the family are driving away from the horrors of Santa Cruz, a flashback occurs revealing Adelaide and her Tethered being swapped places in the hall of mirrors when they were children. So in the underground, the real Adelaide – Red – spends years planning revenge and seeking justice for all the Tethered beings trapped below the surface while above it, Adelaide’s doppelgänger lives a seemingly normal life.
The duo, played by Lupita Nyong’o, have led to dozens of discussions about the film’s themes, including inequality and the prison industrial system but in a recent podcast with Empire magazine, via UPROXX, Peele said the film’s core is about our ability to point the finger at ourselves.
“This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group.
“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.”
Right at the end of the film, after the flashback, Adelaide exchanges a look with her son Jason. Nothing is said but from the way Jason looks at his mother, the audience are led to believe he knows something about her true identity.
Peele told Empire he purposely made this “a bit vague”.
“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.”
You can listen to the full podcast, HERE.
Us is in cinemas now.