Nomadland Review – A Modern Masterpiece About Life on the Road
What Is Nomadland About?
“Nomadland” is a modern film about life on the road. The film follows the journey of a woman who decides to leave her home and live in her van after the death of her husband.
The film is incredibly enlightening, providing insight into the lives of those who live on the road. The characters are well-developed, and the themes are both thought-provoking and moving.
What Is the Plot Of Nomadland?
The film follows the journey of Fern, a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey across America in her van. Along the way, she meets other nomads who teach her how to live on the road and how to find beauty in even the most difficult circumstances.
What Is the Setting Of Nomadland?
- The setting of Nomadland is the American West. This is a region of the United States that is known for its wide open spaces and rugged terrain.
- The Great Recession: The time period in which Nomadland is set is the Great Recession. This was a time of economic hardship for many Americans, and many people lost their jobs and homes.
- The lifestyle of the characters in Nomadland is van life. This involves living in a van, car or RV and traveling around to different places.
What Are the Themes Of Nomadland?
- The American Dream: The film portrays the American Dream as being unattainable for many people. This is shown through the character of Fern, who is forced to live in her van after she loses her job and home.
- The Importance of Community: The film highlights the importance of community, particularly for those who are living on the margins of society. This is seen in the way that the characters help each other out and look out for one another.
- The Transience of Life: The film explores the transient nature of life, with characters constantly on the move in search of work or a place to call home. This is contrasted with the more settled lifestyle of those who live in RV parks or trailer parks.
- The Beauty of Nature: Throughout the film, there are beautiful shots of nature, which serves to highlight both its beauty and its fragility. This is seen in scenes such as when Fern walks through a field of sunflowers or when she watches a thunderstorm from her van.
- Economic Inequality: One of the main themes of the film is economic inequality, which is evident in both Fern’s situation and in that of many other characters.
What Is the Box Office Reception of Nomadland?
The film has received critical acclaim. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 93% approval rating based on 427 reviews.
- The site’s critics consensus reads: Nomadland cements Chloé Zhao’s status as a director of immense talent-and confirms Frances McDormand as one of our finest performers.”
- Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 93 out of 100 based on 54 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
- Box office performance: The film grossed $4 million in its opening weekend from 1,330 theaters in North America, making it the highest-grossing limited release since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Nomadland has won numerous awards and accolades, cementing its place as one of the most celebrated films of the year (2021). The film took home the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, where it premiered, and went on to win Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice Awards. It was also nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress.
Nomadland’s awards and recognition
- Nomadland won the Golden Lion upon premiering at the Venice Film Festival
- It won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival
- It received four nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, winning Best Motion Picture–Drama and Best Director–in winning the latter award, Zhao became the second woman and the first East Asian woman to do so.
- It received five nominations at the 36th Independent Spirit Awards and six nominations at the 26th Critics’ Choice Awards, winning four awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
- At the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards, McDormand received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.
- The film won the BAFTA Award for Best Film in 2021.
- Nomadland received six nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, winning Best Director (with Zhao becoming the second woman and first non-white woman to do so), Best Picture, and Best Actress awards in 2021.
The Critical Reception of Nomadland
The critical reception of Nomadland has been largely positive, with many reviewers praising the film’s exploration of the lives of American nomads. The film has also been praised for its realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by these individuals, as well as its beautiful cinematography.
However, not everyone is a fan of Nomadland. Some have criticized the film for its slow pace and lack of action. Others have accused it of being “poverty porn” or exploiting its subjects for entertainment value.
On the one hand, some critics argue that Nomadland is a sentimental, romanticized portrayal of the “lost generation” who have been forced to abandon their traditional lifestyles. They argue that while the film does a good job of painting a picture of the challenges faced by nomads, she does not offer any real solutions to these challenges.
Others argue that Nomadland glamorizes a lifestyle that is unsustainable and irresponsible. They claim that the film does not offer a realistic view of life on the road and that it is irresponsible to romanticize a lifestyle that is likely unsustainable.
Who Is the Director of Nomadland?
Chloé Zhao is a Chinese-American film director and screenwriter. She is best known for her films, The Rider (2017) and Nomadland (2021).
- Zhao was born in Beijing, China, in 1982. Her father was a diplomat, and her family moved around frequently during her childhood. She spent time in England, France, and the United States before settling in Los Angeles, California.
- Zhao graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in political science. She then earned an MFA in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
- In 2020, Zhao directed and wrote the Nomadland screenplay, starring Frances McDormand as a woman who becomes a modern-day nomad after the death of her husband and the loss of her job. The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, making Zhao the first Asian woman to win that award.
Where to Watch Nomadland
Nomadland debuted on Hulu for all subscribers in February. Additionally, it’s available to purchase on other streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube and Vudu. The price is $14.99.
You can also rent the movie for $3.99 on YouTube.
Nomadland provides an intimate look at the lives of people who live on the road, often referred to as “vanlifers”. We see how they set up camp, find work, make friends, and find ways to entertain themselves. While some may view this lifestyle as extreme or even depressing, Nomadland shows that for many people, it is simply a way of life that works for them. It is a refreshing look at a group of people often misunderstood or ignored by society.
Nomadland will make you think long afterwards about your own experiences living outside normal society. The film is a must-see for anyone who has ever felt the desire to break free from society’s expectations and live on their own terms.