Category: EntertainmentVia: john-russell • one month ago • 10 comments
I wanted to watch Nomadland, a movie about mostly elderly , dispossessed individuals who live out of their vans in parts of America known as flyover country. In the film the main character travels from Nevada to Arizona and then South Dakota in search of transient work needed to provide her with the bare minimum income to sustain her life (style). None of the film takes place in a large city at all, in fact most of the film appears to have been shot in a desert or otherwise wide open region.
Nomadland is nominated for numerous Academy Awards , including for Best Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. The director , a 39 year old Chinese film maker named Chloé Zhao is considered a heavy favorite to win the Oscar.
Frances McDormand, arguably America's finest actress, is the central character, a woman in her early 60's who is (mostly) forced by economic conditions to live out of her van. When her husband dies and the sheet rock company where she worked closes and then the town itself disappears , Fern takes to the road landing a job as a seasonal worker at an Amazon warehouse. But the Christmas holidays are not a year round condition and she is unemployed and makes her way to an encampment in Arizona where everyone is in the same boat. The rest of the story shows us Fern's ups and downs as well of those of her fellow travelers in this melancholy existence, poor people who generally live alone and have at least an element of self-sufficiency , as tenuous as it may be.
Everyone in this world seems to suffer from unspoken sadness though, there are few children , no entertainment to speak of ( There are no tv screens and almost no computer screens in the movie) . Fern occasionally sings to herself. The only time we see her seeming to have fun is when she and a fellow nomad visit what appears to be a wildlife exhibit.
Nomadland is an unsparing but ultimately forgiving look at the existence of people who have been passed by in our society, they are loners, eccentrics, losers I suppose, who choose to live their lives in a simple bare existence rather than accept charity housing.
The ending , like the rest of the film, is neither happy or sad, we see the characters live their daily lives in a simple, unsparing fashion, much like the characters in The Grapes Of Wrath, which this film has been somewhat compared to. Mc Dormand's Fern is in virtually every scene, and as with many of McDormand's characters, Fern seems resigned to live her life as someone trapped in constant low level sadness.
Not a feel good movie, but I thought well worth the time. It should at least help to make people appreciate their own more comfortable circumstances more.