‘Us’ provides social commentary at BGSU Film Theater

In honor of Black History month, “Us” was shown at the BGSU Film Theater on Tuesday. As the film holds several qualities and symbolic references within it regarding social and political issues in the world, it uniquely displays the horrors in our American society. Many theories and plot points are overlooked, while others are screamingly obvious in the context to portray its messages. As racial and social issues are often not talked about, this film forces everyone to discuss the elephant in the room and deal with the issue.

Rabbits in a cage is the first shot in the movie and holds significant value throughout the film. As the Tethered are later explained as the people who were caged for being failed social experiments, we understand their motives, as they do everything they can to survive. Similar to the rabbits locked in cages, the Tethered live underground, trapped in their own form of cages. While the reference is a grasp of racial inequality, it shows the Tethered are lower class citizens who are confined by society and cannot succeed to the standard that everyone else can because of racial discrimination. This symbolic reference is implied in the film between the comparison of the Tethered to rabbits.

“Us” reverses the racial stereotypes, starring a black family, which is unusual since the Hollywood film industry that generally uses all-white families, especially in horror. The white family has a technologically advanced house with several stories and a boat. The main characters’ family has a summer house with an off-brand boat. These subtle details show the standards society treats those with based on race. It’s notable to see these differences, but it’s also a change in display compared to the Hollywood cinematic era.

As many Hollywood blockbuster movies hardly include a diverse cast, story or address issues in our society, why does “Us” address these issues? This is a question for viewers to contemplate while watching the film.

There are various symbolic references in the film that expresses racial or social issues within today’s society. The Tethered are an in-you-face metaphor for racial inequalities among our county’s populace. Also, the reverse stereotypes in the film between the black and white families show a more diverse technique than present Hollywood movies. Furthermore, as there are various forms of communication between racial issues in society, it leaves viewers to wonder: what is this story trying to say?