Starring: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May
Director: Chloé Zhao
Running Time: 108 mins
Nomadland is an American film about a woman living as a nomad in her van, moving from place to place and job to job in the aftermath of her hometown’s fall following the financial crash.
A gorgeous portrayal of an alternative lifestyle, Nomadland goes so far to demonstrating the endless positives of life on the road, all while keeping both feet firmly on the ground. With striking direction from Chloé Zhao and a winning performance from Frances McDormand, the film is a riveting and deeply touching watch throughout.
Let’s start with the obvious: surely living life in a van can’t be all good, right? Well, while the film certainly showcases all of the best parts of a modern nomadic lifestyle, it never gets called away in an overly romanticised version of reality.
As a result, Nomadland manages to combine both the soaring beauty of a life with boundless freedoms, as well as the harsh truths that come with living without a solid piece of land to call your own.
What’s unique about Nomadland is that, while it recognises the challenges of such a lifestyle, the film is overwhelming positive, and will leave you with a beaming smile across your face as it demonstrates the best parts of living life on the road.
Certainly sentimental at times, director Chloé Zhao blends small-scale character intimacy with sweeping cinematics, as the film counts on utterly gorgeous cinematography in immense natural settings that demonstrate the boundless freedoms of living as a modern nomad.
At the centre of it all is lead actress Frances McDormand, who gives a wonderful performance as a woman with a deep love for her lifestyle, despite its many undeniable foibles.
McDormand’s typically strong on-screen presence goes a long way to proving her character’s relative resilience, but her charisma and passion is such that you fall in love with her character from the very first moment, experiencing the world to the full as she does.
Nomadland certainly has its moments of darkness and sobering drama, but its relentlessly upbeat outlook on the world makes it an utter joy to watch, and a sweeping drama like few others. So, that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.