- Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for Jordan Peele’s new movie “Us.”
- The end of the movie reveals the main character, Adelaide (played by Lupita Nyong’o), isn’t who we thought.
- INSIDER rounds up the small details that hinted at Adelaide’s true identity.
If you’ve seen “Us,” the end of the movie may have left you immediately wanting to see it again.
From director Jordan Peele, the movie follows the Wilson family as they’re confronted by a group of doppelgängers who are trying to kill them. We learn they’re clones without souls who are shadow versions tethered to their original selves.
The final moments of the movie reveal Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) isn’t actually the person you thought. It turns out she was switched with one of the clones, Red, when they were both young girls.
If you were surprised by the reveal, there were a lot of little hints sprinkled throughout the movie that gave away the film’s end.
From Adelaide’s inability to carry long conversations with strangers to the movies seen on the shelf in the first shot of “Us,” INSIDER rounded up small details and moments you may have missed that hinted at the big twist all along.
The series of movies seen in the film’s first shot teased the rise of the tethered from the underground.
Among the movie collection on the entertainment center is 1984’s “C.H.U.D.” The movie follows mutants living in New York City’s sewers who prey on the homeless and are responsible for a bunch of disappearances and deaths.
Another movie that’s easily identifiable is 1985’s “The Goonies,” which involves a group of kids who go on a journey in an underground tunnel.
If you paid close attention to that commercial playing on the TV, the word “tether” was right there from the beginning.
At the start of the movie, a commercial plays for 1986’s “Hands Across America” charity event. Over imagery of people holding hands, a voice says, “6 million people will tether themselves together to fight hunger in the US.”
That really happened.
In 1986, a 4,125-mile human chain was created through 17 states from coast to coast to raise money. According to ABC News, the event raised $US20 million for soup kitchens and shelters, but fell short of its $US50 million goal.
When the doppelgängers rise to the surface from their underground dwelling, they start to form a similar chain across the nation. Winston Duke’s character Gabe asks whether or not the doppelgängers are participating in performance art, showing that people in the present have forgotten the 1986 event. The moment mirrors earlier ones in the film when his daughter, Zora, says she isn’t familiar with “Home Alone” and his son, Jason, doesn’t know what Matchbox cars are.
The twist was right in the trailer.
We see a few flashbacks of Adelaide in 1986 staring down her doppelgänger, but if you watched any of the teasers for the movie, you may not have been surprised by the switch.
One ad showed Red reach out to choke Adelaide and render her unconscious. That shot was in my mind the entire time watching the film and I kept waiting for it to appear on screen. It finally did during the big reveal at the film’s end.
Adelaide wears a Michael Jackson “Thriller” shirt at the film’s start, which may have hinted at the twist.
At the end of Michael Jackson’s classic music video, the audience learns he isn’t who we thought. He turns his head to the audience to show off werewolf eyes.
Red winds up changing into Adelaide’s “Thriller” T-shirt after she kidnaps her. We just don’t find out until later she’s not who she appears to be.
The real Adelaide whistles at the film’s start when she goes into the Shaman’s Vision Quest attraction on the beach.
We see the real Adelaide whistle again as she enters the Wilson summer home and is in the same space as the real Red. Red can whistle, too, but it doesn’t sound like the genuine article.
Adelaide whistles once again during their final encounter. It’s the final sound she makes before her death.
The rabbits in cages as the credits play symbolise cloning.
The idea of clones is introduced early in the movie as the opening credits roll. The National Institutes of Health documented the cloning of rabbits in 2002. Later in the film, the real Adelaide says that the doppelgängers were all clones made by humans until they were abandoned because they realised they don’t have souls.
Similar to the tethered shadows, the rabbits were caged until they were set free later in the film.
Adelaide can’t speak after her parents find her at the beach because she never knew how to.
Adelaide is diagnosed as having PTSD because she can’t speak after being lost for 58 minutes. After we learn Adelaide is really Red, it’s clear she’s probably not talking because she doesn’t know how to speak.
As the film progresses and we meet the doppelgängers, we see that none of them have any speech skills. They mostly click and yell out except for the real Adelaide, who leads the doppelgängers.
When in the basement at the vacation house, something seems off about Adelaide.
She recalls a younger version of herself practicing to dance. Instead of seeing a warm, reflective look on her face fondly remembering her past, the audience sees a strange, haunted look, suggesting something is off about her character.
The fake Adelaide is terrified of returning to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and beach.
When watching the film for a second time, it’s clear she’s not scared because of the traumatic event that happened to her, but because she’s concerned the real Adelaide may appear to reclaim her life.
The man fake Adelaide spots going into the ambulance is the first casualty of the doppelgänger uprising.
Fake Adelaide notices the man in the ambulance is holding a “Jeremiah 11:11” sign. From that moment on at the beach, Adelaide is on high alert as if she’s waiting to see the real Adelaide appear. When Jason wanders off, he spots the doppelgänger of the dead man in the ambulance.
He has “11:11” on his forehead. We see that same man near the end of the film in the tunnel before Red (fake Adelaide) leaves the tunnels to kidnap Adelaide.
Fake Adelaide tells Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) she has a tough time talking while at the beach.
Kitty tries to initiate conversation several times and fake Adelaide has trouble engaging in anything more than simple responses.
When the Wilson’s get home from the beach, the fake Adelaide has an interesting conversation with her son, Jason.
Jason asks his mum if she thought he was dead.
“No, I didn’t know if you were lost or taken,” she responds. Upon first watch, that sounds like a normal response from a mother. When you know who she really is, it sounds like she was leaving a few words off of her response: “I didn’t know if you were lost or taken by a doppelgänger.”
When the family of doppelgängers first appear at their vacation home, the fake Adelaide is more terrified than everyone else.
She’s not necessarily afraid of a home invasion. She knows exactly who these people are and has been trying to avoid them all her life.
While she’s on the phone with the police, it’s clear they’re asking her if they have done anything to appear dangerous. Her response is, “No, they haven’t. But I know they will.”
Fake Adelaide only tells Zora to put her shoes on before the doppelgänger family breaks inside.
This suggests she already knows that Zora is going to be asked to run because she knows how they work.
Later, as the family is at Kitty’s house, the fake Adelaide seems to know too much about the doubles, saying, “They think like us. They know where we are.”
Adelaine’s doppelgänger knows where the spare key is to get into the house because she’s really Adelaide.
Once she enters the home, she looks around longingly at some of the artwork on the walls as if she remembers it from long ago.
Only Gabe (Winston Duke) asks the family of doppelgängers who they are.
Fake Adelaine only asks what they want because she knows exactly who they are.
The real Adelaide (dressed as Red) is the only one among the clones who moves gracefully and methodically throughout the film.
We later learn that’s because she’s a dancer. Near the film’s end, fake Adelaide fails to strike the real one because she’s not as graceful as her original counterpart.
Adelaide seems too comfortable using those scissors to kill one of the twin’s doppelgängers.
Fake Adelaide picks up a pair of sheaths to kill off one of the twin’s doppelgängers before appearing to relish in her kill. The moment Jason spots her, she reverts back to her regular self and tosses the scissors aside as if she was caught doing something bad.
The real Adelaide tells the fake one to tether herself to the table with handcuffs.
We later find out why. The real Red handcuffed Adelaide to a bed years ago when she took over her identity and swapped places with her.
It’s suggested that a tether can’t kill or won’t kill another tether.
Kitty’s doppelgänger has the opportunity to kill the fake Adelaide, but doesn’t. Instead, she opts to kill her daughter, Zora, until she’s hit over the head by Jason.
Later, when one of the twins wrestles fake Adelaide, it seems like she’s not really trying to kill her, even giving her a brief window of opportunity to grab a weapon to defend herself.
Jason catches fake Adelaide reverting to her real self, briefly, twice.
The real Red takes a devilish delight in killing one of Kitty’s doppelgänger daughters as well as the real Adelaide at the movie’s end. After each kill, she makes a guttural, detached noise that’s reminiscent of the sounds the Tethered make to communicate.
She quickly snaps out of it when she notices Jason behind her at her friends house and senses him nearby later in the tunnels. Jason withdraws from her slightly in the tunnels and gives her a strange look at the movie’s end, suggesting he knows his mother is hiding something.
Fake Adelaide’s white shirt becomes more and more red as the movie continues, making her true identity as Red come to the surface.
Upon a second watch of the film, viewers will notice that real Red’s white shirt becomes redder as the movie continues. By the film’s end, her shirt is mostly covered in blood, making her easier to identify as one of the doppelgängers in a red jumper.
The real Red appears too affected by Pluto’s and Umbrae’s deaths.
After protecting her family from the group of doppelgängers, Red seems personally attached to her son’s doppelgänger, Pluto, despite the fact that he’s trying to set her family’s car aflame. Similarly, she shares a tender moment with Zora’s doppelgänger, Umbrae, as she dies.
Upon a second watch, it’s clear she identifies with the young boy and girl as members of the Tethered.
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