This paper revisits dual-layer ultrathin film optics, which can be used for functional graded refractive index thin film stack. We present the detailed derivation including s-polarized and p-polarized light under arbitrary incidence angle showing the equivalence between the dual-layer ultrathin films and a negative birefringent thin film and also the approximations made during the derivation. Analysis of the approximations shows the influence of thickness of dual-layer thin films, the incidence angle and desired refractive index of the birefringent film. Numerical comparison between the titanium dioxide/aluminum oxide based dual-layer ultrathin film stack and the equivalent birefringent film verifies the theoretical analysis. The detailed theoretical study and numerical comparison provide a physical insight and design guidelines for dual-layer ultrathin film based optical devices.