Based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Chloe Zhao’s movie version features bleak look at contemporary America. Frances McDormand plays a 60-something drifter called Fern who lives in her van. Fern’s husband used to work at the U. S. Gypsum plant at Empire, Nevada. When the plant closes, the company town shrivels up. And, Fern’s husband shrivels up and dies.

Fern decides to become a nomad. She works briefly as a temporary worker at an AMAZON Fulfillment Center. Fern joins a group of aging workers and recent retirees with their RVs living their dreams of traveling around and picking up odd jobs when they need cash.

Fern meets Dave, played by David Strathairn, who she is attracted to. And the feeling is mutual. Fern is a moody character with a lot of emotional baggage.

Nomadland is not a documentary, but it occasionally feels like one as some of the nomads share their stories with Fern: tales of PTSD, early deaths, cancer treatments, and suicides. Chloe Zhao uses real nomads in many of the scenes which gives the film some of its gravitas.

Right now, I’d vote Nomadland BEST PICTURE and Frances McDormand BEST ACTRESS. What did you think of Nomadland? GRADE: A-

18 thoughts on “NOMADLAND [HULU]

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Don’t have Hulu so haven’t seen it yet. I am really looking forward to it. To console myself while I wait, I got the book from the library last week. McDormand can almost do no wrong for me. From BLOOD SIMPLE to FARGO, to MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, she is a favorite of mine.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I’m impressed that Frances McDormand has taken unconventional roles in unconventional films. She is a true actor.

  2. Michael Padgett

    This is almost certainly the best movie of 2020 but, realistically, there’s very little to choose from. With theaters closed and the decline of the Netflix Disc Delivery service, which I quit about two years ago, I saw very few new movies last year. Honestly, the only other new movies that really impressed me were “Shirley” (also on Hulu) and a really good new version of “The Invisible Man” that I saw on HBO. Elisabeth Moss was in both.

  3. Patti Abbott

    And best director. I have not seen nearly as many as usual this year but this would rank high anyway, I think.

  4. Steve Oerkfitz

    Probably the best movie I have seen this year although there has been very little competition. I have yet to see Promising Young Women.

      1. Michael Padgett

        I’m another big Carey Mulligan fan looking forward to PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN. The only thing I’ve seen her in recently is a pretty good Brit drama, “The Dig”, on Netflix.

  5. maggie mason

    McDormand would be the draw for me. She’s clearly one of (if not the) best actress around. One of the things I like about her is she looks like someone who could be your nextdoor neighbor or mail carrier or nurse.

    I’ve often though of driving all over the country in an RV, but a smaller version, or else a driver/companion

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        Yeah, when we were young we loved to travel, but these days I prefer staying at home around my own things – books, music, restaurants, television, etc.

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, like you and Jackie, I did a lot of traveling when I was younger. Now, not so much. The Pandemic threw a Monkey-Wrench into our 2020 travel plans. Diane is considering a trip to Ohio to visit her sister (who she hasn’t seen in a year) in June. We’ll see…

  6. Kent Morgan

    When I think back to some of the road trips my friends and I took when we were much younger, it amazes me how many miles we put on in a short time. One time a friend and I drove from Winnipeg to San Francisco with a stop in Reno and then down the coast to LA, which included time around Carmel and Big Sur, Then to Las Vegas for some entertainment and a heavyweight fight followed by almost a straight drive back to Winnipeg. All this in less than 10 days. These days a big road trip is an annual trip to the Twin Cities to watch a couple of ball games and visit some Half Price bookstores. It’s about a 7-8 hour drive. We had talked about going as far as Kanasa City last summer to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as it was the leagues’ 100th anniversary, but of course that never happened. When I went to Florida for spring training, I used to visit parks on both sides of the state as well as in the middle and always made a stop at Haslam’s bookstorre in St. Petersburg. The last few years I limited my driving to the Atlantic coast side where I was staying as I had little desire to navigate some of the roads. Just heard last week that Haslam’s, one of my very favourie bookstores, has been closed for almost a year and people haven’t been able to get an answer from the owners about reopening.

    1. george Post author

      Kent, the Pandemic has closed a lot of small businesses in Western NY. We only had a handful of used bookstores hanging on. I hope the new Stimulus Bill will send enough money to them so they can survive.


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