THIS IS SPOILER HEAVY SO UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Alright, I did my due diligence. Now I just finished watching the movie US with my brother and I have to say that I am impressed. There was a great deal of symbolism and meaning to be found and I nearly was taken by surprise by the twist. Let’s break down some of the symbols and meanings in the film.
Throughout the movie, the number 11 was seen over and over again. The first instance I can recall is when the younger Adelaide was watching the television in the beginning.
The news channel was 11. Later when she is trying to pick a prize, the shirt was prize 11. The most noticeable instance was by the Jeremiah 11:11 verse on the homeless man’s sign.
You then see it on the homeless man’s forehead when he is taken in the ambulance as well. Again it appears on the clock in her child’s room as she was tucking them in.
The number 11:11 itself is considered by some as an auspicious sign. While others believe it means angels are near.
The biblical significance of Jeremiah 11:11 refers to a verse concerning an inescapable evil coming to which God will not heed the call of help. That seems to be the case of what happened in this film, evil came for the family.
The Color Red
The color red can be seen throughout the film. Starting from the red of Adelaide’s candy apple as she is walking through the fair. It brought to mind a pig being sacrificed to a pit with an apple in their mouth.
Which ultimately happened to her. Like a baby being born from the womb covered in blood, the red jumpers were worn by the Tethered who were planning to be reborn and come into the light. The red in the jumpers are also of note for another reason I will discuss below.
The frisbee was red with a gold star and covered, or overshadowed the blue circle perfectly. A type of foreshadowing for the Tethered’s plans for the originals. To take their place on the surface.
The Golden Scissors
Reminiscent of the scissors used to cut the umbilical cord that ties a mother to her baby. The Tethered used scissors to kill their counterpart to end the bonds that tied them.
In the beginning, before Adelaide went into the attraction she saw two people playing paper, scissors, rock. This may also have had an influence on her choosing scissors.
The Shaman Find Yourself Attraction
The tunnel was Adelaide’s ultimate downfall and that is where she did indeed quite literally, ‘find herself.’
Michael Jackson Influence
The one glove everyone wore just as Michael was known for a solitary glove. The concept behind Thriller, the person you trust to be safe with is really a monster.
Similar to the boy realizing his mother is a monster at the end. In the video, the monsters also came from below. Furthermore, the red of their jumpers was like the red that Michael wore in the video.
Ophelia Instead of Alexa
Ophelia is a Greek name meaning help. The Alexa like device was instead named Ophelia. So when Kitty asked “Ophelia, Call the Police!” She literally was saying, “Help, Call the police!”
On another note to this scene, I would have to say the humor is not lost in the fact that instead of calling the police, the device started playing “FUCK THE POLICE” by N.W.A. Kind of as a way to say that the police are equally inaccessible to everyone.
Fire and Jason
Jason says he has a magic trick to show everyone which eventually is revealed to be the creation of a flame. He was also the first one to see a Tethered standing to begin the human chain. The idea here is that he was the one who “played with fire” but his Tethered counterpart Pluto was the one who got burned.
To continue this discussion
Fire and Pluto
The name of Jason’s counterpart is Pluto which is Greek for Hades. Hades is the God of the Underworld or Hell. Similar to Hades, he meets his end in a fiery hell.
Both Jason and Pluto have a mask on. One is the animal-like colored one while the other is a white one. Pluto is the one who doesn’t have the option to speak because of his burns, acts like an animal and has the white mask.
While Jason is able to speak, acts civilized yet has the animal mask. This seems to indicate that despite the masks they wear, they are not indicative of the person underneath. A white face can hide a monster.
The title of the movie would on the surface seem to only indicate that the threat to the family was themselves. However, at one point, Gabe asks his Tethered, Abraham what they were. To which he gravelly responded, “Americans.”
This seems to come out of nowhere but if you think about it. The U.S. is the abbreviation for the United States, who are commonly referred to as Americans.
Signs of the Switch
Now there were hints from the beginning that the switch had taken place if you paid attention.
- Adelaide’s mother kept saying she wanted her girl back
- The fact that after the tunnel Adelaide couldn’t talk, seemingly from trauma but its because they didn’t develop speech where they were. She had to learn to talk.
- When Kitty was talking, Adelaide outright told her that she wasn’t good at the whole talking thing.
- All the other tethered communicated with clicks, grunts, and yells. Cementing the fact that speech was not practiced in their realm BUT Adelaide’s shadow could speak. Reflecting that it was the original girl.
- When Adelaide murdered one of the Tethered twins, you saw the glimmer of her inner darkness when it seemed she took pleasure in killing her.
- Finally, when Adelaide killed what appeared to be her Tethered Red, she took great pleasure and relished her death.
We take for granted the things we have. As Americans, we can be oblivious to the pain and suffering of others. Spoiled in our privilege.
The message also seems to be that with the right environment, anyone can thrive. Despite the traumatic beginning to her life as a Tethered, Adelaide grew and thrived on the surface.
However in contrast, regardless of the privilege that she began her life with, Adelaide’s Tethered Red, became evil and embittered. This speaks to the idea that evils can be a result of the environment too.
Another message I understood was to be more vigilant with your life because at any moment someone could take it away. While in this case someone’s life was literally taken from her.
There seems to be the idea that the ‘someone’ attempting to take our lives away is the government. The Tethered was a result of them attempting to control people.
In the beginning, Zora even states the fact that the government is attempting to control us with the fluoride in our water. To which none of her family reacts and her angered response is, “So no one is listening? No one cares?!”
We have to pay attention and be more wary of control in our lives.
I probably would have to watch it one more time to gain even more insights but this is what I took away from watching the movie once.