Nomadland (Chloe Zhao – 2021) B+

It’s quiet a coincidence that I had only seen Into the Wild less than a month ago. I could not help but draw some comparisons between the two films. In this one, Fern played by Francis McDormand is not driven to the nomad life -at least initially- by choice as McCandless did. She was living in a company town called Empire in Nevada. The whole town was wiped out when the only employer goes out of business and Fern also loses her husband to cancer. We do not see any of that. What we see is the movie starting after all that, Fern hits the road in her van. She works in various places and meets other nomads and interesting people. Like Sound of Metal this is a film about a community that we never or barely knew existed. Fern does seem to have options to “settle” yet she does not. This is not a movie with a plot, and it blends documentary with fiction as well as awesome cinematography and an excellent performance by McDormand to make a unique portrait about grief, finding one’s place in life, what is important and moving on.

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