Author Note: There are spoilers. There will be some discussion of the themes seen. This is not meant to be a complete breakdown, but that is coming on the official Facebook page. Enjoy.
Jordan Peele is a genius.
In a Facebook live that I did last year after seeing the poster for Jordan Peele’s new movie, I joked that my future self had already seen the movie three times. I also joked (half joking, really) about how I would need to take a day to process all that I know I would see in this movie.
I was right.
I appreciate this movie, as a writer and as a Black woman. Some of the themes I saw are (but not limited to):
-the treatment of Black women in regards to trauma
-the policing of Black bodies
-what it means to be whom you say you are
-How Black women deal with trauma while more trauma is happening
-How we as humanity treat each other
-Minimizing of trauma as it relates to Black women
-Black woman shero complex
I think it is safe to say now that there will be a certain audience for Jordan Peele movies. He makes you think. He makes you rethink. He scares you with his interpretation of what can be considered mundane.
Yes, Us is based on the idea of dopplegangers. These second, parallel or alternate selves. This idea that you, as a unique human being, are not really, or the only, you. That concept is loosely based on a Greek myth written by Aristophanes. The fact that Jordan was able to put it on its head, creating a world and a mythology that weaves the survivalist nature of Black women. And even from that, find out the person you are (or whom people think you are) isn’t that at all. That is universal!
From the backstory of Adelaide Wilson wandering off. Of her shutting down due to a trauma and not speaking. And dealing with this trauma in a fashion that most Black women are used to: being silent about the things which might kill us. In her shadow self having no control over her life? Powerful.
In confronting the other Wilsons, she still had to keep her head about her when all Hell was breaking loose? I was enrapt. Only because I truly have been that Black woman and had to be my own anchor and to quote Fight Club: ‘I am the calm center of the world.’ And alternately, “I am Jack’s cold sweat.”
At the end of the movie, amidst all the dead ‘originals’ and the Hands Across America Tethered, my writer’s Spidey-sense erupted. Something was off with Adelaide. Something was wrong. And I began how to notice how and to find out that Red was the REAL Adelaide, and the Adelaide that was the mother to Jason and Zora, wife to Gabriel, was the copy THE WHOLE TIME?! And it was her (original Adelaide) life she stole, and Jason was the first to notice?
The levels, y’all. The LEVELS.
In Alice in Wonderland, Alice was introduced to a new world by a white rabbit. This is no different. And if memory serves, that land was not Wonderland, it was Underland.
The levels. The feels.
I sat and held my head in my hands for like five minutes before leaving the theatre.
To add more depth, let’s add the Old Testament–Jeremiah 11:11. Which reads:
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. (KJV)
I’ll let y’all watch and be judge of this.
Brava, Jordan. Brava.