Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Nomadland - Movie Review

The Movie: Nomadland

The Director: Chloé Zhao

The Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie

The Story: Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

The Review:
Chloé Zhao might just be one of the best up and coming directors in the business so there was a fair amount of expectation for this film after her previous films Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider. Pairing up with actress Frances McDormand for a story that is literally off the beaten path was a really smart move and I think both the director and the star were perfectly suited to take on this film. Shout out to (Fox) Searchlight Pictures for seeing something special with this project and letting the creative team do their thing. I wonder how many other studios may have past on the project for many different reasons before they chose to give it a go.

The absolute number one thing that I love about this movie is the cinematography which does such a beautiful job of showing off the gorgeous south west landscapes and west coast views so shout out to both Zhao and director of photography Joshua James Richards. The paid have worked on all three feature films together and this movie feels like a culmination of their efforts as a filmmaking team. Over the course of 2020, I watched a lot of movies and I think none stand out visually anywhere close to how this one does. The story is solid and the acting is strong but this is one of those movies that needs to be seen on a big screen so I hope I get to do that some day.

Frances McDormand has had an impressive career dating back to the mid 80's so to see her having so much success over the last few years is a testament to all of that hard work and commitment. I don't know if she has ever had a better performance than what she has in this movie and I don't know if she has ever been asked to do as much as she does with this character. The story is very quiet and deliberate so it depends on the energy to come from the characters which is where McDormand really excels. She is on screen for almost the entire movie and owns every single one of those moments. Also on board is David Strathairn who is great in everything he does so you know he's going to be able to match McDormand's performance every step of the way.

The Verdict:
Nomadland is a beautiful movie by Chloé Zhao. That's all you really need to know.

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