Nomadland ★★★★½

Third time. A real “What you give to it, it gives to you” film. If you’ve seen a lot of movies, it’s easy to get bogged down in what this wants to be, what it is aesthetically mining. And if you seek clean social morality, this probably isn’t the one. Too ephemeral, too specific, too hooked into the historical American tradition of liberty in the face of fear and the unknown. One long drive to freedom. There’s no judgment and no plan. The politics aren’t political, they’re social and humanistic. There is an evident philosophy that gets a big platform—a nomadic order of decency and connectedness. It’s sensitive but direct about loss—the amazing regret and What if? that powers life after. I’m not too worried about whether Amazon gets off easy. That’s a tool to Fern’s fate, not a bellwether of lax ethical understanding. It is beautiful, to look at and to remember. Purple mountain majesties, et al. Too beautiful? I don’t think that’s a thing. I’m just as fond of the hand-mixed salad in the high grass, the dimly lit dining hall at Wall Drug, the bucket-shitting. It’s all the same. A moonlit sky, a potato harvest, a laundromat, The Avengers on the marquee. Life rolls along.