After losing everything in the recession, a woman lives a nomadic lifestyle, traveling across the country in a van and living life in her own way.
Written and Directed by Chloé Zhao
Starring Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Tay Strathairn, Melissa Smith, Bob Wells
Based on the book by Jessica Bruder
Oscar Wins - Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Director
Oscar Nominations - Best Adapted Screenplay,
Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing
Nomadland has been a serious frontrunner for the 2021 Oscars ever since it was first announced. Frances McDormand has been pretty much guaranteed a third Oscar for her role as nomadic traveler Fern. Due to Covid, the theater release was pushed indefinitely and thanks to Hulu, us regular folk can finally get to see it. And it's an interesting watch. It can be viewed in one of two ways. It's either depressing as hell or liberating as hell, depending on how you view the characters, nearly all of which were played by actual nomads, not actors. That alone is pretty incredible, given their impressive performances.
The film takes place shortly after the Great Recession, where millions of Americans lost their jobs and their homes due to the housing crisis and economic strife. Fern (McDormand) lost her home and then her husband to cancer, prompting her to adopt a nomadic lifestyle and live in a van. She travels across the country, working odd jobs to support her unique way of life that puts her at odds with her sister but lets her meet a variety of interesting people. McDormand delivers yet another powerful performance, crafting a character with countless layers. Fern is strong and admirable, but also fragile at times. McDormand shows her unmatched talent by making this character come to life.
Chloé Zhao is going to be able to write her own ticket after this film (not to mention her upcoming Marvel flick Eternals, which will only cause her stock to rise). It's an emotionally resonant, frustratingly relatable drama that shows a side of America that is rarely seen by the rest of the world. People who've lost everything in a country that's betrayed them. It's a film that should be seen, and now thanks to streaming, it will.