I was very excited to read Analiese’s blog post as I recently saw ‘Us’ and made very similar connections in my mind. It is definitely a classic Jordan Peele move to have so many underlying meanings behind a film. I really thought it was interesting that he named the movie Us after the U.S, as I did not make that connection when seeing it. Going off of that, the movie seems to connect more when looking at it specifically through the lens of being American.
I distinctly remember a scene when Adelaide asks Red, “Who are you?” and her reply was one I did not expect: “I am American.” I look back on this and remember other people around me in the theater chuckling at Red’s response. It may have been because it was unexpected or because they chose such a sinister character to label herself as American. Oddly enough there are many allusions in the film to the “Hands Across America” movement. After doing further research on the movement, I learned that it was a 1986 movement sponsored by the USA for Africa in an attempt to aid individuals that are hungry and homeless. This attempt was unsuccessful. Ironically, American’s literally joined hands together yet there was still a prominent divide amongst them in terms of socioeconomic class and opportunity as Jordan Peele points out in the movie. This leads the tethered to join hands themselves as they come to realize that no one else will stand for them.
I was also able to relate that concept to the Unlikely Scholars in Big Machine, in a similar way when reading about how Solomon Clay chose to target and assemble the homeless population. This has a similar commentary about the American divide that ‘Us’ has. Perhaps both works are trying to show the divide of American society and the inability for equal opportunity. This has made me question if we will only pay attention to others needs when they cause mayhem that negatively impacts us. It seems as though in ‘Us’ the tethered went completely unnoticed and uncared for until they caused mayhem and ended lives.
Additionally, I felt as though I fell into the trap of categorizing the tethered as “other” or thought as one group as good and one as evil. However, are the tethered truly the evil ones if they have been locked up and neglected for their whole lives, having to become enslaved to their connected person? Both Us and Big Machine have allowed me to question my concept of good and evil. While viewing this I was able to think of the unlikely scholars, as they all had a past that they were not necessarily proud of. However, much like the tethered in ‘Us,” Solomon Clay uses people that feel like they have been wronged in society or that the system has failed them in attempt to create a revolution.