Film Features

Hint of Film: The Hidden Books and Other Details of Jordan Peele’s US


Jordan Peele’s US displays a master attention to detail at a nearly unparalleled level.

Anyone who’s seen my previous videos knows that I can’t help but to look for the books hidden in movies. In this case, the book choices are great examples of this film’s attention to detail and commitment to its themes.

I didn’t originally set out to find all the books in US. Compared to the previous movies I’ve highlighted in this way, (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, LADY BIRD, and ZODIAC), I knew from first viewing there wouldn’t be the same quantity, and for good reason – most of US involves people running for dear life, hardly any time to be reading! With that in mind, I initially intended to just highlight the cool details I noticed in US that helped spark great conversation after going to see it.

That said, the few books I did find each had deliberate purpose, on the same level as any other. When Adelaide is reading at the beginning, she is reading They Come From Below by Blake Nelson, which on first viewing may not register, but on second viewing works as a great piece of foreshadowing. That’s the only one I’ll reveal in the text, the rest you’ll have to see for yourself.

I didn’t stop there though – I also took a chance to find some of Peele’s other clues and recurring visual themes. He often uses the number 11, rabbits, and the itsy bitsy spider as further symbols in line with the overall story. I discovered even more patterns worth sharing as well in this process, which are all highlighted in this five-minute video. Enjoy! And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to Hint of Film for more video essays analyzing and dissecting movies.

H. Nelson Tracey
Nelson is an LA-based filmmaker and the creator of new video essay channel, Hint of Film. When he grows up, he wants to live in a house where he can slide down the laundry chute.

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