Nomadland ★★★★½

when they say "money can't buy happiness" it's meant in a very direct and temporary sense, though it's crucially wrong in that money can unlock security and comfort in ways that can make you happy. but it can't buy freedom.

wealth is nothing more than a mound of dirt. and from atop that mound you can see so much more than you could from the floor. but you can't stand on top of the mound without it slowly eroding below you, and your fear of returning to the floor demands you feed the mound even more. so you do. but the mound keeps eroding. so you feed it again. but it keeps eroding. so you continue to feed it, at worst completely unaware that your tireless conquest of dirt means digging a hole for someone else. but their hole won't stop your mound from eroding, as mounds do. so you keep feeding it and feeding it, freeing yourself from the 'shackles' of the floor, only to shackle yourself to maintaining the mound. and maybe it's worth it– the view from the top is beautiful. maybe there's a lovely garden in the distance.

but it's not the only view; on the floor, there are rocks. there is water. there are animals and plants and life. there are people, and the people make music and share stories and fall in love and feel heartbreak, all from the same floor. they connect their own little pieces of the floor and they build a road. they move along it at their own pace, stopping to live and to see other people and to collect dirt, not to build a mound but to keep building more road. and the longer the road gets, the closer they get to that garden. they won't see it as quickly, but they've seen so much along the way the garden doesn't feel like the destination. in fact, maybe it never was– you don't need a destination when you enjoy just moving along the floor. your freedom is along the road, where you can always see your friends and find yourself open to stumbling along little gardens along the way.

people are freedom. mobility is freedom. the road is freedom. dirt may build the road, but it's people that use the dirt and people that move along it. it's people that made america and people that keep it alive, even when other people insist on building mounds out of your precious roads. because when those roads are destroyed, it's only people who will help you build them back again.

EDIT: shit i wrote this all under the wrong movie. this is my review of The Lorax

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