If you haven’t seen Jordan Peele’s latest work of art, Nope should be your next movie night. Aside from the mysterious extraterrestrial horror that will have you at the edge of your seat, what really makes this film shine is Keke Palmer.
It’s Keke Palmer’s Year and I’m Here For It
We’ve seen Palmer crush the meme game on social media but she’s also crushing it on screen. Earlier this year, we got a powerful performance from her in Alice. You might have noticed Palmer’s iconic voice alongside Chris Evans in Lightyear. If you think Palmer’s just getting started, think again. She just keeps making her mark in Hollywood, including making history in 2014 as the youngest TV talk show host ever. But her performance in Nope takes the cake.
Keke Palmer’s character, Emerald Haywood, is the glue behind every scene. Even with Nope having Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) as OJ Haywood, Emerald’s brother, I longed for the film to go back to Emerald’s storyline – I was actively focusing on her reactions to everything happening to this sibling duo. Palmer’s performance was truly captivating and presented a very real and relatable approach to her character’s fear throughout the film.
Nope’s Diverse Cast Hits Home
Nope also gave Walking Dead fans a fantastic performance by Steven Yeun, whose character brought an interesting child-actor backstory with a tramamatic chimpanzee murder scene, no less. We even get Brandon Perea who plays Angel Torres, the tech employee who sells the Haywood siblings the security camera equipment to catch their famous extraterrestrial Oprah moment on screen. (I went down a rabbit hole for us and discovered that Perea is a professional roller skater–you’re welcome!) Our Euphoria queen, Barbie Ferreira, even has a role as Nessie, who works with Angel at the tech store. I wish Nessie would have been at the house when it all went down. Ferreira and Palmer in that scene would have been epic!
Jordan Peele Continues to Elevate Horror
Unlike Get Out or Us, Nope has a sci-fi element to it. Peele builds on suspense to reveal a mesmerizing monster. What makes Peele’s work so unique is his ability to take simple, everyday things and turn them into new irrational fears. After getting out of the theater, I checked a few clouds to make sure they were moving. You might have a new fear of clouds, thanks to Nope and unfortunately won’t have Emerald Haywood with you to catch the proof.
Peele’s genius also caters to diverse audiences. Peele revealed the reason he named the film Nope, was because that’s what he knew audience members would say if they were to ever encounter the extraterrestrial monster in real life. Throughout the film, I found myself saying nope under my breath too. Some even thought the name of the movie was an acronym for Not Of Planet Earth, which Peele also confirmed is connected to the name of the film. Either way, this film, alongside Palmer’s performance, is going to leave a lasting impression, particularly with non-white audiences.
Jordan Peele Wrote Emerald Haywood with Keke Palmer in Mind
I really liked the sibling element in Nope and thought Kaluuya and Palmer were cast perfectly. Peele’s family dynamics seem to always strike a deeper chord with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about Us for weeks. Now, I’m thinking about how my siblings and I would have handled the plan to kill the human-sucking vacuum in the sky.
In an interview with IMDB, Peele talked about how he always saw Palmer in the role of Emerald Haywood and the result is movie magic. It certainly leaves me wanting to see more collaborations between Palmer and Peele. In the meantime, Palmer better get nominated for her role as Emerald Haywood come award season. I can’t wait to watch her acceptance speech. We’re manifesting it already. Yup, it’s gonna happen!