Review of Nomadland written and directed by Chloe Zhao
I’ve waited nearly a year to venture back into a movie theatre. Nomadland was the film I felt I needed to see on the big screen. Before heading out to the AMC movie complex, we considered the possibility that there might be an issue with seating restrictions due to covid. As it turns out, we ended up having a private showing of Nomadland on an Imax screen.
As a fan of the book and national parks, I was looking forward to this film. I think we all have a bit of nomad in us. Who hasn’t thought about how nice it would be to hit the road and see the country? The truth, of course, is that the romanticized view of this lifestyle doesn’t always jell with reality.
This film captures the reality:
- The crowded RV parks
- The seasonal part-time work
- The negative impact on your health due to poor sleep and diet
What was missing for me was the grandeur of nature. There were a few scenes that captured it. There just wasn’t enough of them. I felt the film needed to show more of the beauty.
There are tradeoffs in the nomad lifestyle. The film spent too much time on the hardships without showing the flipside, like waking up surrounded by nature.
Still, I give the director credit for making a film with a limited cast and a mostly ad-lib script. Frances McDormand held the film together. Was it Best Actress worthy? Is this film worthy of a Best Picture nomination? I would say that the answer to both is probably yes, but I believe that there are better films and performances out there.
Speaking of better films. If you want to see a movie that captures the grandeur of hitting the road, I recommend the Netflix documentary Expedition Happiness: two people, a dog, and a retrofitted bus.