Nomadland – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Nomadland – Love, Lost and Hope: Stories of the Open Road

Looking beyond is to bring upon a taste of adventure.  From the ominous to the open, seeing life endure can bring about the wonders of character and journey.  When a story brings about that sense of adventure, the subtlest details can be an amazing thing.  In this review, I look at a film that pushes the medium through the restlessness of life.  A strong character study, this story weaves a sense of irony within the fragile sense of freedom.  Even with a slow start, Nomadland is a masterpiece of what it means to live the adventure.

In the aftermath of loss, one woman seeks out a path of hope by living against the grain in the American West.  The foundation of this story is routed in the aspect of adventurism.  Cloe Zhao (writer/director) captures the essences of life by blending topical references through a character study of an atypical lifestyle.  We are introduced to Fern (Frances McDormand) through the drop-in method, coming into her life after a string of tragedies.  With no husband or home to return to, she seeks out a place/position where she can work while living out of her van.  Through some convenient plot elements, she is led to a group of modern-day nomads in Arizona.  After a few conversational set pieces, this leads to the key incident – Fern learning to live as a nomad in the American West.  From this point, the direction moves away from traditional linear progression and focuses on Fern’s journey.  As you watch this unfold, it becomes a deeper complexion of the aspect of living.  Seeing Fern move through indifferent situations brings to light the ominous feeling of the freedom we all seek (in this world).  Each obstacle is fraught with unexpectedness, sowing emotional worth in each of the places Fern stays.  The heartfelt detail is within the many ancillary characters.  As Fern meets people along the way, the subtleties of their conversations lead to an endearment of friendships.  This allows the characters to become more than plot fodder and having true relevancy to Fern’s life as a nomad.  This sowing of meaningful growth helps adapt the audience to the atypical aspect of the progression (of the film), seeing the levels of distinctions in Fern’s adventure-like personality.  She becomes an image of our own hopes and dreams, an honest gesture of something more.

As Fern continues to move along her own path in the American West, layers of her past begin to make their way into her life.  As conflicts begin to arise, she is at a crossroads of what to choose for her future.  The drama is introduced through the subtleness of her interactions and the cinematography.  Watching the vastness of the forest, plains, mountains and desert gives off levels of endearment, capturing that unknown feeling of the adventure.  As she is alone in nature, it becomes a reflection motif for her and the audience.  The quietness (of the scenes) brings a parallel of emotional growth, layering purpose in her open travels.  As the year begins anew, it brings a sense of closure. This leaves the audience with a riveting detail of ambiguity of Fern’s future.  Nomadland pushes the art of cinema through the lens of life storytelling.  With strong characters and a worthy escape, this is a truly amazing film.  This is truly, an award worthy experience.      

Full Score – 4.5 out of 5 (Award Worthy)

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