Nomadland sees Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao join forces with real-life nomads to bring the world of van-dwellers to life – and it’s utterly captivating.
Based on the book by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland follows Fern (McDormand) as she embarks on life as a nomad across the American West after her life was torn apart by the 2008 financial crash.
It shows the incredible highs as Fern makes friends for life and falls in love with the freedom that being a van-dweller permits, and doesn’t shy away from the lows, including the bleak job market.
In the simplest terms, it’s a beautiful film. McDormand gives an absolutely stunning performance, while Zhao has rightfully made history this awards season for her directing work.
But it’s also given an amazing glimpse into the lives of nomads, clearly shutting down misconceptions and even changing mind-sets about the ‘houseless, not homeless’ van-dwelling community.
Bruder perhaps said it best when she told us she wanted to ‘complicate people’s reality a bit more [and] make people a bit more open to each other’s stories.’
Frances McDormand stars alongside the nomads (Pictue: REX)
It’s hard to say for sure if the film has been a complete success in that sense, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone coming out of watching it without a greater sense of empathy for everyone around them.
One of the most striking elements of the film is that many of the nomads featured, including Linda May, Bob, and Swankie, play themselves in the film, which lies halfway between fiction and a documentary.
From a few minutes in, you’re left completely rooting for them, with Fern and Linda’s goodbye being one of the most unexpectedly heart-wrenching moments of all.
It’s a captivating glimpse into the community (Picture: Moviestore/REX)
They ground the film in a way that actors may never have been able to, showing a small part of the diverse van-dwelling community, and providing a shoulder to lean on for Fern throughout.
Their appearances really bring home the real-life struggles depicted in the film – from the hardship with the job market and ageism faced by some of the older nomads to the shattering impact that van break-downs and illness can have on their lives.
But it also celebrates their lives as many of them fall in love with the van-dwelling life – despite not all of them choosing it for themselves.
It’s wonderful to think that they’ve taken mountains of awards and six Oscar nominations in their stride as they continue their lives on the road.
Ultimately, Nomadland is a worthy Oscar contender and would most certainly be a worthy winner.
Either way, its legacy is likely to go down in film history, with Zhao, McDormand, and Bruder, as well as the nomad community, being rightfully celebrated.
Nomadland is set for release on Disney+ Star on April 30 and in cinemas on May 17.
Credit: Original article published here.