22 May 2021

"Nomadland"

One of the things I love most about this life is that there's no final goodbye. You 
know, I've met hundreds of people out here and I don't ever say a final goodbye. 
I always just say, "I'll see you down the road". And I do. And whether it's a month, 
or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again. -  BOB WELLS in "Nomadland"

Finally, I got to see "Nomadland" yesterday afternoon at The Showroom Cinema in the centre of Sheffield. The last film I saw in a cinema was "Parasite" and that was back in February of  2020.

I watched "Nomadland" in silence with my friend Mike. As we shuffled out of the darkness during the final credits, I agreed with him that it had been a great film - captivating and beautifully constructed. We were not disappointed - quite the opposite in fact. It was quietly joyous - a celebration of life in spite of the central theme of poverty and displacement - modern American "nomads" living on the fringes of  normal society.

The central character is Fern played by Frances McDormand. When her husband died, she remained in the remote Nevada mining town where they had spent all of their married life. However, finally she ended up in a small camper van seeking seasonal work and solace in the great American wilderness. 

Brilliantly directed and edited by Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland" is not laced with the anger and resentment one might have anticipated. People get by and get along. They do not really blame anybody else for the situations they have found themselves in. Two other things I loved about this film were the beautiful imagery of the west and the fact that the cast included a number of travellers that the filmmakers encountered along the way - true life American nomads  like Swankie, Linda and Bob. They added to the film's aura of authenticity.

There was no killing. No drunkenness or cop cars or wily detectives. It was a quiet and lovely film about outsiders and Frances McDormand was superb. It is easy to see why "Nomadland" has  achieved so many awards - including "Best Picture". Richly deserved in my view.

39 comments:

  1. I agree 100%. I loved its quiet beauty and authentic feel. It was superbly crafted and acted, yet very, very real.

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    1. "Quiet beauty" just about sums it up Margaret. This will be a film that stays with me.

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  2. There is a part of me that would love to hit the road in a van and just travel but I also know I'd be lonely. I have travelled by myself and don't really enjoy it. There is also Miss Katie and Jack and I wouldn't want to leave them.

    I took Katie to a doctor's appointment today for a pre op check up. She has dental surgery coming up. She sees the very same doctor who deliver her 29 years ago. We had a nice visit and I can't see myself leaving her for any extended periods of time. Or maybe that's just fear? Who knows?

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    1. No. I can see how your circumstances are very different from Fern's in the film. She had nothing to stay for.

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  3. Now when Our theatres open , I'll have to take your advice and see this film.

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    1. I suspect you will enjoy it but don't expect a "story" with a proper beginning leading to a neat ending.

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  4. Thank you for this great review. I want to believe that there are many decent people out there, living a nomadic life and finding happiness or at least contentment in spite of poverty and insecurity as to where they will stop next, what their next job will be like or even just where and how they will get their next meal.
    Drunkenness and violence happen in all layers of society. Maybe even less in the environment the film describes.

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    1. I hope you get to see it one day Meike.

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  5. We agree to differ then. I didn't realise some of the cast were real nomads.

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    1. Thankfully people do not always enjoy the same things but this was my kind of film.

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  6. Don't let it give you ideas. Clint would not be happy.

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    1. The badlands of Cheshire or Somerset would be very unlike Arizona or Nebraska.

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  7. I always put any Best Picture or nominee on my Netflix queue to watch so eventually I will get to see this movie. I am rarely disappointed of any Best Picture nominee and I can't think of a Frances McDormand movie off the top of my head that wasn't good. She has always been a really excellent actress that always makes me believe she isn't acting.

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    1. I believe the streaming rights to this film were won by Disney Plus.

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  8. I might give this film a go if I can get it on Netflix. Thanks for the review Mr Pudding.

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    1. FYI - It's only on Disney Plus Sue.

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    2. It appeared to be available on Google Play.

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  9. I need to watch this. For sure.

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    1. I suspect you will enjoy it as much as I did. Best seen on a big screen in darkness.

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  10. Thanks for the informative review YP.
    It sounds an interesting film, with the theme so strangely un-American - no cops, bloodshed or violence. I assume that it was made pre-Covid, as you haven't mentioned the virus playing any part in the story - or was the location too remote?
    A pity that many of us will have to miss it unless we subscribe to Disney Plus.

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    1. It was filmed in the autumn of 2018 before this damned virus arrived.

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  11. I have just booked to go see it tomorrow with Jane. Very rare that I go to the cinema but your recommendation has prompted me.

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    1. As you are not a regular cinema goer, I hope that you are also captivated. No snogging!

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  12. We had read somewhere about the making of this movie and the 'real' nomads in it. Thanks for your review it sounds like something F could watch (and then i could sit on her while she does. MR T

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    1. I am not sure that it is possible to purchase cinema tickets for cats. They tend to scratch the velveteen upholstery.

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  13. Did they play Pearl and Dean music during the adverts and trailers YP?

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    1. No but an organist played his Wurlitzer and ice cream girls shone torches on their trays.

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  14. I'm glad to hear it wasn't a disappointment. I'm really looking forward to seeing it myself. The last time I checked cinema listings I didn't see it but I'll look again -- might be a good activity for tomorrow!

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    1. I think you will find it is being screened down there too. Hope you appreciate it as much as I did.

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  15. The book is on my counter; I guess I'll pick it next.

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    1. I wonder how the book and the film would compare?

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  16. My kids took me to see this on mother's Day. I would prefer something frothier on mother's Day but that's my weird mind. It's a very good film and your review is on the money

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    1. Does "frothier" mean "raunchy" Kylie?

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    2. lol, what does "raunchy" mean?
      lighter would have been nice

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  17. I also watched and enjoyed Nomadland this week and agree with your review. Like Ed, I am a big admirer of Frances McDormand's work. Another 2018 movie that impressed me is The Public which stars and is produced by Emilio Estevez. It deals with the plight of the homeless unable to find night shelter in the depths of winter. In desperation they decide to occupy the Public Library to draw attention to their cause and Estevez's Librarian character is forced to choose which side he will support. I have saved it to watch again.
    Cheers
    Adele aka the baby whisperer

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    1. Thanks Adele. I will look out for that film - sounds like my cup of tea.
      P.S. What do you sing to Charlotte Grace?

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    2. A modified version of Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte was an easy first pick followed by Hush Little Baby Don't Say a Word. I've been teaching my daughter a more effective winding technique which has made feeding the pleasure it should be instead of an anxiety. Babies remind you how incredible the human body is. Mine is built for baby comforting...

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  18. I enjoyed it too, and found it very uplifting. But also quite sad and eye opening in that a whole subset of Americans have to live that way

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  19. I don't think that I have watched a film since the start of the first lockdown (but, of course, I could be wrong). The only other person I know who has seen it commented that "Nomadland is a good film but was rather long and drawn out. The message was clear enough but I didn't need 2 hours of it." 2 hours might be stretching it for an re-introduction to the land of film for me.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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