Qt3 Movie Podcast: Us

Of all the movies we’ve done on this podcast. this one has the shortest title.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2019/04/01/qt3-movie-podcast-us/

Is there a synopsus?

Man, that government explanation really gums up the works for this movie. I wonder if it was some sort of studio note/reshoot because of audiences being confused?

You could definitely make an argument that like the Thriller outfits, they’re a warped explanation Red/Real Adelaide came up with to explain her predicament - after all, who would have told her? The doppelgangers can’t talk.

It doesn’t play as coming from an unreliable narrator though, so it it completely changes the tenor of what you’ve seen.

If it weren’t for that, the doppelgangers would be a pretty straightforward embodiment of a Jungian shadow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_(psychology) - the darker, suppressed parts of your personality that can wreak havoc if left unexamined. Which, aside from being a great horror idea, does have some contemporary political relevance.

Also, this’d explain why the youngest seems to be able to control his shadow at time. He’s younger, he’s more in touch with that part of himself, he’s conspicuously running around with a monster mask.

My son is watching a show called “The Flash” on Netflix. This morning, as I awoke from my post-podcast haze, he was watching the show and I heard the line, “You’re gonna need a bigger Flash.”

I chuckled a bit and in my grogginess explained what the line was referencing. Turned out the episode was taking place near a beach, so, of course they would go there. I explained that the writers, like just about everybody, got the line wrong, and how they got it wrong.

Then they started talking about doppelgangers. I’m all, “Didn’t I just have a conversation about this three hours ago?”

I asked my kid, “Do you know what a doppelganger is?”

He responded, “A doppelganger is a doppelganger.” Which at once is a sarcastic teenager thing to say, and is also pretty clever.


“There’s weirdos at that beach.”

Given the clunkines of the final twist, and some of the tone issues I have with Get Out, I don’t have a hard time seeing it as Jordan’s own doing. I do wish, however, he’d been given notes about your Jungian shadow connection. That’s exactly the sort of approach the movie needed.

Actually, “You’re gonna need a bigger Flash” is getting the line right! The common misuse is “We’re gonna need a bigger [insert noun here]”. But Brody’s comment to Quint implies that Brody isn’t going to have anything to do with Quint going back to shore to get the bigger boat that will be needed to deal with the shark. Who isn’t named Jaws. “You’re gonna need a bigger [insert noun here]” is correct.


No podcast for It, or Up? Or If? Of course, If has an ellipsis after it. So maybe that doesn’t count.

Agreed that the whole ending is totally unnecessary and, in my opinion, just makes no sense. Maybe I missed something, but the switcheroo is totally inconsistent with the (equally and separately unnecessary) exposition dump. Is the idea that (unbenknownst to us), Red has switched clothes, and then switches them back again (also unseen). Because otherwise there’s no way that scene would happen. The twist just feels like Peele felt, well, this is a doppelganger movie, we’ve got to have a switcheroo. It doesn’t serve any dramatic purpose that I can glean. Same for the exposition dump.

Other than that I quite liked it, but nowhere near as much as Get Out. I don’t have the tonal issues with that film that so many seem to have. I thought it was pretty much perfect.

Yeah, that’s where I’m at. Still worth seeing, but less interesting. And I’m a doppelganger enthusiast.

I’m curious about that aspect. Doppelgangers don’t really do anything for me as a concept, but apparently Peele was obsessed with them as a kid. I wonder how I’d feel about the film if I was coming from that mindset.

On the other hand, I’ll say this for the film. Normally a bad ending ruins the whole film for me. It pretty much ruined Hereditary for me, as discussed on the other thread. But for some reason, even though I think this is the worst ending to a movie I’ve seen in a long time (much worse than Hereditary’s), in this case I’m willing to basically disregard it and pretend the movie ends 20 minutes early.

I don’t think think he’s ignorant of the concept - it sounded like Kelly was referring to him talking about it in an interview. But sure, Peele wants to make populist cinema with Themes over arthouse movies, and I can see him thinking he needed to give the average moviegoer some concrete answers, and that backfiring.

Wait, what do you think happened in that ending? Because I can’t make those sentences scan with what I saw.

Ha. I got it wrong. They said the “We” and I typed it wrong in my post.

Joke is on me.


Heh, the twist was so implausible and unnecessary that you didn’t catch how far-reaching it was! The idea was the the doppelganger and the real Addie were switched back in 1986, at the mirror maze.


Tom’s explanation that the BIG REVEAL was included because it’s become an expected trope makes me like the ending even less. My take was that it exists because people are dumb and can’t abide things that aren’t explicitly explained to them. That’s annoying, but at least understandable for a writer trying to sustain mainstream appeal.

No, no, I got that. But if that happened, then why the exposition dump scene? Non-Red Addie knows all this, because she’s the doppelganger. And why is Red telling her that “we”, ie the ones created as doppelgangers did x, y and z? If it had been written better, it could have just about worked if she’d only talked about stuff after the switch, but she didn’t.

I can never really abide those, because of Psycho of all things.


“I think about murdering him sometimes.”

Yep, those are all legit questions that I’m guessing don’t have an answer. Other than the script caring more about its final twist than its internal consistency?

Frankly, I think the only thing the final twist achieves is a reveal that Addie was trying to save the doppelganger kids. But since it has to break the movie to do it, it’s hardly worth it.


Yeah, but to what end? It’s not like the twist adds anything - it’s so perfunctory. And we already knew Addie was trying to save the doppelganger kids, because she revealed as much at the time. It gives those moments a bit more weight, I suppose, but not much, given that it’s undermined by everything else that the twist contradicts.

I think it informs those moments in a sort of…I don’t know…retconny kind of way, but it doesn’t fulfill or honor them. For me, the maternal aspect of it is much more moving than the backfill, because the risk is higher than in the twist. And the, “You don’t get to make decisions anymore!” badassery is totally betrayed.


“It looks like some kind of fucked-up performance art.”

There are a lot of threads that can be pulled to unravel Us, in terms of the actual plot. However, I don’t at all believe the final twist was tacked on for there to simply be a twist. It’s not exactly complicated, Simply part of the overall commentary that we are our own nightmares. Circumstance was the only thing separating Red and Adelaide.

Perhaps. But the momentum of the story involves the intention of a specific character based on that twist. That is not mere circumstance.

Why are no other characters that we meet able to exert this motivation? Because the screenwriter decided she was Neo I guess.

And this is from somebody who really liked this movie a lot.