Updated: May 24
Frances McDormand has more balls in her films than Michael Jordan scoring for the NBA. Her attitude on the camera shows raw passion, but you engage with her genuine kindness in her fiery scenes. I have been patiently waiting for my golden ticket to see this movie since the end of 2020. Disney released the Oscar winning title 'Nomadland' a few weeks back, but I steered away from my tele screen, waiting to caress my hand along the red velvet seat. Having seen what this niche documentarian filmmaker can achieve in the 'The Rider', I ached for Chloe Zhae to sweep me across the The American West with these lingering Nomads.
Have you ever watched a movie that's connected you to nature through a lens? It seems impossible, but exploring land through a camera is undoubtedly more powerful sometimes than through your own two eyes. This movie showcases this fabulously. You're swept across Dakota, scaling national parks and sugar beet plantations, like wind through the desert. As an audience member, Zhao leaves you no time to escape, as you're sucked into this world of vandwelling.
Zhao's greatest attribute as a director is her boldness to outlay realism. There are moments in this film when you're chuckling or squinting at the gross realities of having to wipe your own ass on a bucket on the floor of your vehicle. Not only does it bring you deep into the protagonist life, but it emotionally connects you to their battle onwards. The narrative is projected as a jigsaw for the viewer to depict, giving them snippets of dialogue from friends of Fern's previous life, without even showing her original town until the last scene. It emphasises the journey you're on with the character, as you identify what tragedies brought her here.
You can't help but feel attached to the individuals explored within Bob Wells nomadic lifestyle. Knowing these people aren't professional actors, instead regular people speaking to the camera in a documented form, suddenly brings an intense amout of sadness and actuality to their stories. The script is beautifully simple, in addition to the poetic music chords, which lets Fern explore her ways of the land with contentment and joy.
Even though Fern's relationship with Dave (David Strathairn) blossomed, I felt their was much more to give between them both towards the end of the title. Having her depart by herself was courageous and intentional, but there was almost a gap for more to be focused on for their future for the audience.
There is rarely times in our lives when we truly feel free. Being connected to earth and nature is one of them, and there is no doubt about it, with the intense cinematography and editing skills from this astonishing director, you escape with them. It reminded me of my childhood, being captivated by open land. We often lose sight of what matters for our own fulfilment when we reach adult life, not to be trapped within the capitalised systems we are taught to obey. It's a frank, tender and enlightening film, that makes you lose your mind to the world around us.
Release date: 17 May 2021 (United Kingdom)
Director: Chloé Zhao
Adapted from: Nomadland
Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture, MORE
Producers: Frances McDormand, Chloé Zhao, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey