Here is a short film review by Sara Nauaui

Nomadland based on Jessica Bruder’s book of the same name is the 2020 American Drama film directed, written, produced and edited by Chloe Zhao. The film stars Frances McDormand as Fern who leaves her hometown of Empire after her husband dies, and the only industry in the town closes down. She proceeds to embarks on a journey with her van named Vanguard to lead a nomadic lifestyle. She travels through the United States taking up seasonal low-wage jobs at amazon and in restaurants. On her way Fern meets fellow older nomads that give her advice and help her learn lessons though their own stories.

Frances McDormand as Fern

The film takes a documentary like approach when it comes to talking to people who actually partake in this lifestyle living in vans off the grid. Chloe Zhao includes them as characters in the movie using their real names. Because of authenticity of the characters, the real-life nomads were able to give splendid raw performances that felt completely unscripted. 

On surface level some people may describe the film to be about poverty or homelessness, but I think that’s far from the truth as it speaks volume about how the nomadic lifestyle is one of the only ways to escape the trappings of capitalism in America.

When it comes to the best aspects of Nomadland, the cinematography by Joshua James Richards stands out greatly as he captures the dreamlike landscapes of the deserts, road, mountains and rivers. Also, the music by Ludovico Einaudi manages to enhance the raw sentiment of the story. Frances McDormand gives as to what can be described as the best performance of her career, she is able to breathe life into the character of Fern in the most subtle and honest way.

When looking at the faults of the film, Nomadland tends to have some pacing issues, and the story can at times seem stagnant, although this may be because the film is more character driven than plot driven.

Overall, I think Nomadland is a gorgeous film that deserves high praise. The film went on to win best picture, best actress, best director, best adapted screenplay, best film editing and best cinematography at the 2021 Academy awards.

By Sara Nauaui