This past weekend records were broken and souls where shook, as millions took to the box office to watch Jordan Peele’s latest display of genius on the big screen via the movie ‘US’. I had not seen a trailer, had no earthly idea what it was about, did I mention I don’t do scary movies. So imagine my surprise when I realized this was in the HORROR genre, but I decided to do it anyway #ForTheCulture and I am so glad I did. Disclaimer: I have not read the movie reviews in detail or even listened to Peele’s view of this movie so all of my interpretations may be different than the directors real intentions. My review of movies are often compilations of the powerful messages and divine downloads I get after my mind settles into the theatre. This movie is not solely for entertainment, it’s disturbing, unsettling and it makes you think. For this reason, that’s why I believe so many left like WTH? After ‘US’ ended, I was the last person to leave the theatre as I sat feverishly scribbling thoughts and feelings about what the movie represented, this blog is simply the themes of my scribbles…
My Angels Are The Dopest
I am a believer in the ministry of angels, in fact, if you know me you hear me say all the time, “My Angels are Dope” and I mean it!! In the early scenes of the movie, when I saw the scripture Jeremiah 11:11, my soul was like buckle up buttercup you are about to go on a ride. The scene was set and the year was 1986 and as the little girl, Adelaide, strolled away from her slightly buzzed Dad, I thought how odd for a homeless man to be chilling at a carnival holding a sign, not one begging for food or money but one sharing the gospel of Jeremiah. I quickly summoned my early Sunday school teachings and came up short, on what the verse was referencing. What I could not miss was the number sequence 11:11 though. There are two types of people in the world, those who see the number 11 a lot and those who don’t. I am one of those people who see the number 11 often, like everyday often and so I recognized the cleverness of dropping this “Angel number” throughout the movie. You see it’s a horror movie, filled with many dark moments but the message of 11:11 is sent from the Angels and the messages it carries are usually to wake up, pay attention, literally God is trying to tell you something. So throughout the movie whether it was the shirt the little girl won which was prize #11, the clock time of 11:11 or even in 1111 on the top of the ambulance that took the family to God knows where, this number was sprinkled throughout the film. Us is certainly a wake up call, maybe simply to the brilliance of black films and the power of our genius, who knows!!
We’re Moving On Up
Listen, I was here for the Black family vacation. Growing up we took family trips to Chicago every year, my family and I were usually piled in a mini-van and the gas fill-up at the Dixie truckstop, was the highlight of the ride! So it just felt good to see grown Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her fine husband Gabe (Winston Duke) rolling to their beach house in Santa Cruz with their youngins Zora and Jason. I’m certain that George and Weezy, from the Jefferson’s would be proud. US was the quintessential nod to the fact that we are moving on up. A black family doing well enough to not just be able to pay the bills of the home they reside in but to be able to have a beach house. I was so grateful that the representation in the film also subsequently for many will create aspirations and a visual. It’s a reminder that the lifestyle is not just available to the rich and famous like Jay and Bey. Now, how and why Adelaide would agree to have a property so close to the place of her trauma escapes me, but she got a beach house and a boat, who am I to question this.
The Babies Will Save US
So apparently little Jason, got his wandering spirit from his mother. Cause when Adelaide reluctantly agrees return to the beach, after much prodding and convincing by her husband, the little boy strolls off like she had done in 1986. Jason, doesn’t tell anyone what he saw, but when he returned home he drew a picture like children often do representing what took place in their world. His picture would be the thing that clued his mother to the fact that something was coming for them. In the film this would set off Adelaide’s intuition and a whole chain of events. Once the tethered souls in the films are face to face with the family, it would be the children who would outsmart, out maneuver and literally come forward to save the family on so many levels. Juxtapose that with the reality in the US and literally the babies will save us too and always have. Because little people, as I like to call them, see very clearly what is going on. They know way more than adults give them credit for and they haven’t learned to be afraid. As babies we come into the world with only 2 fears - the fear of loud noises and falling. All the other ones we have picked up along the way are learned.
Men Must Learn To Submit
As the Love Engineer, I am here for all of the relationship dynamics and Gabe & Adelaide had plenty. First off, ladies, the brilliant display of Winston Duke’s thighs is worth all of scary parts in the film but I digress. So throughout the film it was very clear that Adelaide respected her husband’s perspectives. Remember she went to the beach of the her childhood trauma because of his direction, though to be fair, he had no idea she had been traumatized there. Yet when her woman’s intuition kicked in after she returned from the beach luckily she refused to ignore it. Even though Gabe was ready for some bedtime fun, he was tuned into the fact that something was wrong with his wife. She was ready to go and though her reasoning felt squishy, and she couldn’t articulate it clearly with words, she was adamant. Men are often very direct and operate in black and white spaces, which is fine! One of the many gifts of masculine energy is it’s straightforward and direct. One of the causes of confusion regarding feminine energy is that it’s intuitive and indirect. As Adelaide suspicions proved right (fellas they often are) the family was faced with a crisis of major proportions. Funniest thing to me was that even after they were in the midst of a fight for their lives, Gabe, being the great man that he is, continued with the oh some common man stance, ‘this is what we are doing - period’!! As the gender certified “leader” he suggested to the family that they should just stay put. Staying true to masculine form he had a very logical reason for it. He thought, we should just stay here, we have everything, food, electricity etc., nevermind the dead bodies strewn throughout the home, it was comfortable enough. Adelaide said, “You don’t get to make the decision” we have to leave. Luckily Gabe was strong, powerful and confident enough in his manhood, that he was able to submit to his wife’s direction. It literally saved his life. Oftentimes, in relationships there becomes a power struggle because society has trained men to believe they have the market cornered on thinking and great ideas. Reality is men are brilliant and so are women. The way men and women think are different and because it’s often unclear to men how a woman got to her conclusion, he is often reluctant to take her direction. Think it not an assault to manhood when following a woman’s direction, it can be life-saving and positively life changing.
This has to be my favorite theme of the movie. There is this fun house of mirrors that is anything but fun, with the sign out front that says “Find Yourself”. Little Adelaide had stumbled into it early in the movie and came out forever changed and later in the movie she would find herself stumbling in there again. Inside the fun house there were plenty of reflections of herself, it was a reminder that life is just that, a reflection of you. Life is reflecting your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings back to you all the time. Relationships are a reflections, surroundings are a reflection the things you pay attention to and the things you ignore are too. The tethered souls which invoke most of the fear throughout the movie are carbon copies of people. Everyone of us has a tethered soul. The part of us that is US no matter where we go or what we do. Yet so often society aims to keep us focused on the minutiae which prioritizes the body and neglects the soul. This essentially leaves us walking around as beautiful zombies. I am convinced that when we refuse to feed our souls, it turns into our shadow. Always present and looming until we are willing the venture past the “mirrors” and go deep within to discover what is inside of us. Many never do it because it is scary, uncertain and who knows what you will find. Yet though our hands may be tied, like Adelaide’s was for the better part of the film, it’s our responsibility to FIND OURSELVES. Why because NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU, as the family found out in the film. You must decide to save yourself. The journey within is the most worthwhile journey we will ever take if we are ever to be the best versions of US.
What Movie Did You Watch?
If you have gotten to this point and have seen the movie or read reviews, you are probably like, did you watch the same movie that the rest of US watched. I did, I promise! I also saw all of the other themes that I’m sure have been covered at nauseum by this point. The racial messages that were so strong and clear, the fact America is the name of the shadows or doppelgangers, was ironic. The setting of the scenes on the water triggered to me the reality that America left it’s soul at the shores during the transatlantic slave trade. That the tethered souls were connected all across America was an interesting visual and reminder that no matter what skin you are in, at the deepest level we are all inextricably linked together, like it or not. This is US!
What were your thoughts about US? Share this blog and let me know your thoughts in the comments.