It is the season of “Oscar bait” films. Some consider it a pejorative term. But it can be a compliment. To me, it means that the producers were willing to take a risk on a film that wasn’t necessarily made to entertain. Perhaps they are more interested in creating candid, meaningful, reflective art than merely appeasing the masses. Nomadland fully embodies the essence of this term. Released today in theaters and on Hulu, it is a profound film. The camera work and panning are groundbreaking. The score is absolutely magical, sprinkling bits of musical heaven throughout the screenplay. Moreover, another impressive facet is that Nomadland essentially plays like a documentary. Frances McDormand, one of the most talented actors alive, and David Straithairn are the only known actors; the rest are real people carrying out real lives. Therein lies an ample discharge of economic and social commentary. This film is an ode to the forgotten, those who lost everything in the great recession of 2008, and to anyone else who pursues nomadic living. I’ll admit that I was bored for many chunks of the opus. It is like a cubist painting. It first seems like a waste of time—but once you have experienced it fully, you begin to see its genius. It lingers in your head long after the credits roll. So, don’t be surprised one bit if Nomadland wins Best Picture and Chloé Zhao wins Best Director at the Academy Awards. To me, those are locks. I also expect Frances McDormand to win for Best Lead Actress.
Good review. I agree that the film has a documentary feel (David Straithairn’s main purpose is to remind us we’re watching a drama, not a doc) and it’s important for viewers to slow their heartbeat a little in order to match its ambling pace (it reminded me of “The Straight Story” in that regard). Beautifully rugged characters and ruggedly beautiful scenery.
Appreciate it! And well said. Definitely had enough of those facets to maintain the “drama” aesthetic while still exploring a relatively nonfictional struggle that accompanied the Great Recession. And what an incredible way to phrase it (as for “beautifully rugged characters and ruggedly beautiful scenery”)! Such a clever yet equally fitting description. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts!
Love how you’ve been reviewing lots of classics lately. I need to review more 20th-century stuff!
I thought the movie was fantastic! Great review Luke!
Thank you, Cynthia! So glad y’all went & saw it. Fantastic film indeed!
Update: Nomadland won all three of the Oscars I predicted it would win! Congrats to all involved!
Thanks for sharing!
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I’ll check it out tonight! Cheers
Love the Keanu post! I actually got to interview him for one of my Harvard classes, and it was a total blast! He was so humble and down to Earth but also intellectually challenging. He read through our class syllabus before it and gave us really helpful info for the papers we had to write on him. Amazing guy!
Yes while writing about I felt the same he is genuinely humble and down to earth
Interesting use of words there, can’t wait to see the movie…
Thanks for the reminder. I love McDormand and definitely want to see this one.
Hope you enjoy!