Nomadland has been getting quite the buzz lately in terms of awards season; it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and has now been nominated for four Golden Globes, including ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’. I would not even be surprised if it won the Golden Globe, let alone be nominated for the prestigious ‘Best Picture’ Oscar. Nomadland is a gorgeous, fantastic, calming film. In a world filled with films that feel the need to be bombastic, showy, and loud, in comes a film that ignores all the noise in favor of a character’s journey through an all-too-real world. Nomadland may actually be the most peaceful movie I have ever seen, and I doubt there will ever be another movie that shares its quietness with such captivation. It truly is amazing.
Nomadland tells the story of Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman in her sixties going through a rough time in her life. During the 2011 recession in Empire, Nevada, she loses her home and ends up buying a van, which she lives and travels in as a nomad. The film follows her day-to-day journey, looking for work and meeting with other nomads, making connections along the way.
For many, Nomadland is depressing, as it deals with the hardships on being a nomad. The struggles that Fern goes through feel all too-real as well as the stories many other nomads tell. It is a film that would most likely make you feel drained of joy, but there is also a beauty to the way these locations are shot and a sense of hope as we travel with Fern on her journey. McDormand is one of the finest actresses, and here, she is just as good as she ever was or has been. She has a sensibility that stays with you as well as snark to match.
Besides McDormand’s performance as Fern, what makes Nomadland shine in terms of film-making is what director Chloe Zhao does with the subjects. Not only is it a gorgeous film to look at, it also feels somewhat documentary-esque as we see Fern talk to these different nomads she comes across. Not to mention, most of the characters in this movie are not played by actors, but real-life nomads playing caricatures of themselves; the only exception being David Strathairn as someone she finds a connection with.
Nomadland may truly be one of the best, if not perfect, films I have seen in quite some time. Whether it wins the Golden Globe for ‘Best Picture’, only time will tell. Yet one thing is for sure, if it gets nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Picture’, I will be rooting for it to win!