Nomadland ★★★★½

Nomadland is a film that certainly seeks to criticize and condemn the current capitalist establishment by showcasing people living outside of this system. We get to see the ins and outs of this unorthodox lifestyle, and how it runs adversely to traditional thinking. It does offer up an alternative to what we’ve been told is the one correct path, and while it certainly isn’t perfect, it offers a level of freedom and self discovery that feels unattainable in the current landscape. However, to say the film’s anti-capitalist message is at its center would be an insult to its craft. At its heart, Nomadland is a film about people forming connections with one another as time continues to move forward. The lifestyle these characters live may seem isolated to the uninitiated, but upon closer inspection, the bonds they form amongst the other nomads are as thick as blood. They’ve all lost so much, yet they continue to stand by each other. Whether in life or death, each person Fern meets will come back to meet her one day, and there’s something innately beautiful about that. It’s as Bob says in the film:

“You know, I've met hundreds of people out here and I don't ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, "I'll see you down the road." And I do. And whether it's a month, or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again.”

Nomadland is one of the most human films I’ve ever seen. It immerses the viewer in an authentic emotional connection to the lives of its characters. Perhaps the reason this felt so real was because they actually had real nomads play themselves in the film. But another core reason as to why this film can inspire such raw emotions is due to Frances McDormand’s stellar performance. She perfectly encapsulates this character and is able to completely sell every emotion and line. But the film can also inspire feelings through visual means, mostly because of the excellent cinematography and impeccable locations. Some of the backdrops left me in awe as they embody the beauty of the natural landscape. Much like the characters, it made me want to visit all these different places before I die. 

Overall, this film is a masterpiece of emotional storytelling. It may feel like very little of note actually happens throughout the runtime, but this is a film less concerned with portraying situations and more about portraying life. No matter what, time keeps marching forward without stopping. In a sense, we can’t control it as much as we can just sit back and be along for the ride, and this film shows us that the best way to do so is with friends alongside you. And while you may grow apart as the years go on, you’ll one day see them down the road once again. 

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