Nomadland ★★★★½

Chloe Zhao is the perfect, hypnotic blend of De Sica and Malick. She makes the environment a character like the latter, with deep focus shooting capturing the gorgeous landscapes of the west. Yet her gift at naturalism, sometimes tipping into miserablism, is just as potent, filling her screen with real characters, cast mostly with real non-actors, grounding the film in a reality that is palpable without sacrificing the beauty.

Frances McDormand's character Fern is a nomad roaming free through the beauty of life, but also through the abstract poverty, hardship and sympathy from others. She makes it clear she is houseless, not homeless. As opposed to many who are truly homeless, she has options of where she can stay. People will take her in.

Nomadland is a wandering film. A wander that rests in Fern. She is both her own ally, tough and resilient, but also her own enemy. The landscape of vast beauty and turmoil Zhao presents in this movie is allegorical for Fern, as Nomadland is both the space she inhabits, along with the struggle she holds inside.

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