Alireza Nury’s review published on Letterboxd:
If only this were a documentary, Chloé Zhao wouldn't have only managed to tell a story of suffering, loneliness and connection, but also would have managed to make a hearty, moving one.
Thing is, it's not a documentary. It's fused with fiction that is absolutely pointless. And that's when Zhao's portrayal of real nomads and their real stories and their real pain + McDormand giving the nomads a fake, fictional character background in return becomes, and the nomads actually believing it becomes disgusting to watch. That's what makes the film deeply fake at its core, and you can see it everywhere too, if you pay enough attention: The labor of these people and the protagonist herself, which the film wants to pass as alienating, excruciating and exhausting, is watered down to short videoclips instead of actual, empirically engaging moments that the viewer would experience; sheltering the film crew and, in turn, the audience from the actual pain.
That's why, the strength of the film lies merely in its ability to visualize and recount its fiction, and we can clearly see that it's those moments Zhao and McDormand actually identify with (e.g: the scenes in Dave's house and the final scene). The rest could have been a good documentary if it had ONLY been a documentary with more focus on the real-life accounts. Again, it's not. And it's absolutely horrendous. Rarely have I seen so many people's real memories exploited for the sake of a message at the end of a fiction.