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Nomadland (2020)

Our protagonist, Fern (Frances McDormand), is suddenly faced with two calamities: her husband has died, and the plant at which they both had been employed for years closes. Since the plant was the chief employer in the town, everything soon dries up, and is literally taken off the map. Soon Fern decides to sell her belongings, buy a van, and take off on the road looking for work. She initially takes seasonal employment at an Amazon regional center, then when that ends, she moves on looking for other work. Along the way she meets dozens of other working nomads who are traveling the highways in their vehicles likewise looking for temporary employment in order to maintain their vagabond lifestyle.

Fern quickly learns from others how to survive on the road. Some of the featured true life motorized nomads were interesting, what with the personal stories from these non actors ringing true. She meets the real life Bob Wells, who is something of a guru in the traveling lifestyle. There are a couple of others she meets who play an important part in her education. She eventually meets David (David Strathairn), a fellow traveler. After several chance meetings and a shared job David expresses feelings for Fern, and invites her to stay with him at his sonís guest house. Fern declines, and soon heads off for the road, where she seems to feel comfortable.

If one is expecting something to happen, it really never does, apart from a minor back story revelation which gives some clue as to Fernís motives. The film teetered between a documentary and a drama, with the documentary portion being more engaging.
The picture will appeal to those who enjoy slices of life and poignant human stories. Otherwise itís a bit of a slog. We see Fern cooking on her single burner stove, she bundles up to sleep, she takes endless aimless walks in the western outdoors, all of which eventually becoming uninteresting, causing the viewer to wonder where the film is going.

The cinematography was good, but there was too much of it. It seemed like every frame consisted of a wide vista shot of the American West. They were impressive at first, then became repetitive. It's almost as if the photography of the landscapes was intended to make up for the lack of story. The editing soon felt aimless. The minimal single piano score fit very nicely.

Reportedly writer/director Chloe Zhao was simultaneously working on this
movie along with the upcoming MCU film, Eternals. Whether the film would have changed any, given Zhaoís full attention, itís hard to say. I havenít read the book, but it would be interesting to have seen this as a pure documentary, without the narrativeís need to be attentive to a protagonist.

Docís rating: 5/10
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Looking forward to this movie. Sure is hyped everywhere to a great degree. Hope it holds up better than her last over-hyped movie - Three Billboards...
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It's exceptional. A moving, spiritual take on life choices, the gig economy and how corporate America has such huge ramifications on everybody.

If you don't like Terrence Malick films, you probably won't like this.

This kinda reminded me of Honeyland last year in terms of content and pace. It's a raw movie about particular life struggles, though it's difficult to recommend to a broader audience.

This kinda reminded me of Honeyland last year in terms of content and pace. It's a raw movie about particular life struggles, though it's difficult to recommend to a broader audience.
Didnít think anyone but me had seen Honeyland. My review is here. What did you think?


Honeyland's been on my to-watch for awhile. Ditto Nomandland, which is obviously rocketing to the top now, before the Oscars.

Honeyland's been on my to-watch for awhile.
Post in my thread when you see it. Would love to hear what you think.

I think I gave it a
Stirchley. It was fine, but after an hour or so, the pace lulled me a bit.

Watched it tonight on Disney+. I loved it. My review: Nomadland is a beautiful, gentle film, empathetic, compassionate and real. Frances McDormand is wonderful and I loved the supporting cast, made up of mostly non-professionals who have never been in a film before. It was like spending time with interesting people and making new friends. The screenplay was great and the cinematography was lovely. Chloť Zhao's direction is flawless and I am confident she will deservedly win best director at the Oscars. Nomadland is a masterpiece and my new pick for the best film of 2020. My rating is a 10/10.

I liked it a lot. Here's my review, but the fact that "nothing" happens is part of what the film is. I mean, it's a character-driven film, not plot-driven. For me, the strength of the film is not necessarily in whether things happen to Fern, but rather in how she's processing the things around her; from whatever happened in her past, to her struggles to make ends meet, to the possibilities of settling down with her sister or with Dave. There's a lot of psychological weight put into how the character behaves and reacts to all of those things, and I find that very powerful.
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I liked it as well. I've seen a few documentaries too about people who live this way, for various reasons. It's great to see that people connect and join all sort of groups when they are alone and eventually life turns out well or not well in some cases.
In any case people in general tend to help each other and anyone can find some comfort somewhere.
For some people life is easy, other have to struggle in order to stay alive.