Like his previous work, Jordan Peele’s latest film Nope creates a lot of discussion and buzz among the fans. The film focuses on siblings, OJ and Em, who begin to experience a strange phenomenon on their father’s ranch, including the sighting of a UFO.
On the surface, Nope is another sci-fi horror movie like Panels Where Extraterrestrial. However, there are much deeper themes and subtly interwoven social commentary throughout the narrative. Fans on Reddit discussed their theories about possible hidden meanings in the film.
seven The title
The title of the movie has sparked a lot of discussion among fans. Whereas Nope is a recurring line throughout the film, especially from OJ, there are other possible meanings for this title. Editor Turkish says, “that’s an acronym for not from planet earth” and also, “after OJ asks his sister what’s a bad miracle? They have a word for that? and there isn’t, so she shrugs her shoulders and says no. So in a Actually, the title basically means bad miracle because that’s the answer she gave.”
The acronym “Not from Planet Earth” is an obvious connection to Jean Jacket’s possible origins and the film’s sci-fi themes. However, the idea of the “bad miracle” is a recurring motif throughout the film; so it makes sense that the title would tie directly into that through the conversation between the siblings.
6 The fate of Mary-Jo
While the main plot focuses on the discovery of Jean Jacket by OJ and Em, there is an important subplot in the film which centers around the character of Jupe. Although Jupe is physically unscathed from Gordy’s seizure, her co-star Mary-Jo is not so lucky. Editor swingshwingshwinger suggests that Mary Jo’s fate could also be linked to the “bad miracle” motif, “Maybe Gordy, her survivor, was a bad miracle because she ended up in an even worse situation: in a wheelchair , literally and psychologically scarred for life, AND she still died a violent death.”
Cruelty and violence against animals is one of Jordan Peele’s trademarks in Nopebut the film also shows how it can lead to the reverse. Gordy is abused and manipulated by the humans, causing him to turn on them, and while Mary-Jo survives Gordy’s attack, she remains scarred and terribly injured. Although her survival could still be considered a miracle, she suffers an even worse fate when she is brutally killed by Jean Jacket along with the other members of Jupe’s audience.
5 The levitating shoe
A strange and unexplained moment in the film is the levitating shoe that young Jupe focuses on when attacking Gordy. Editor AlexInfinitePlaylist theorizes about the meaning of the shoe, saying “the shoe is just a weird thing that happened that caught Ricky’s attention long enough to not make eye contact and stay calm.”
Later in the film, OJ realizes he can survive if he doesn’t look Jean Jacket in the eye. Skirt focusing on the shoe right now means he’s not looking directly at Gordy. The levitating shoe could be the old Skirt simply misremembering what happened as the shoe is now displayed that way in his “museum” or it could be how he saw the shoe in order to have fun.
4 The character of Skirt
Rather than learning to respect animals after Gordy’s attack, Jupe thinks he survived because he’s special, which naively leads him to believe he can control Jean Jacket. Editor WhiteWolf3117 expands on these elements of his character, saying, “I almost felt like he was getting some kind of weird pleasure/pleasure out of it and looking for it again.”
Steven Yeun gives one of the best performances in a Jordan Peele movie as Skirt, portraying a man desperate to take advantage of his troubled past. Rather than considering himself lucky, he lets the experience go to his head and acquires a bit of a superiority complex. Jupe’s greed and lack of self-awareness led to his mistreatment of Jean Jacket and subsequently to her death and the death of many innocent people.
3 animal treatment
The treatment of animals by humans is a key theme in No. There are clear parallels between OJ and Jupe and the way they treat animals and how that relates to their eventual fate. Editor Drangelice says, “OJ wins because he respects the power and individuality of animals. Yeun loses because he believes there is some sort of intrinsic emotional connection between the two.”
As Jupe fails to learn from her previous experience with Gordy and wants to exploit Jean Jacket as well, he seals his own death. OJ, one of the coolest characters in Nope has a deep respect for animals and this understanding is what ensures him to survive Jean Jacket’s attack.
2 Presence of Mary Jo at the Jupe show
Despite her obvious trauma, Jupe uses her experience with Gordy for profit. However, it’s even more surprising that Mary-Jo is still caught up in the spectacle of what happened to her. A Editor says, “Not even living with a 24/7 reminder of the trauma keeps her from making a public appearance as a former child star in a modern exploitation show. She even wears a photo of herself on her shirt from her prime. The only person who should actively oppose everything the Star Lasso show stands for is instead to perpetuate it.”
Mary-Jo is always ready to make a public appearance, even though her previous fame has led to her being brutally attacked. She still seems intoxicated by her past fame and clings to who she once was. As she clings to something so traumatic seems strange, it shows how Mary-Jo is unable to move on and clings to who she once was.
1 Death of Otis Senior
One of the Easter eggs of Nope has to do with Otis Senior being killed by a coin and it’s also what allows Em to capture a photo of Jean Jacket near the end of the film. That being said, there is another symbolism in him being killed by a coin. Editor UsefulGuitar8562 discusses this scene saying, “he was killed by the industry. He was looking for money and it was money that killed him.”
Otis Senior made a career out of horse training and enjoyed it. If he hadn’t been looking directly into the sky, the coin might not have killed him. His being killed by the coin represents how he took advantage of horses, sought wealth, and is also tied to the ending.
NEXT: 10 Best Social Commentary Horror Movies Like Jordan Peele’s Nope