CalebC’s review published on Letterboxd:
How do we keep moving on when everything we love holds us back?
Nomadland is a sublime piece of work from Chloé Zhao and Frances McDormand. Shockingly intimate while also relishing in its isolation. A supporting cast bolstered by real nomads who bring a sense of realism and honesty to the film. It almost feels like a documentary at times due to the personal directing style Chloe employs. It feels like us as the audience are directly invited by the nomads into their life.
The film forces us to reflect on our own priorities. It is resilient and powerful in its ability to draw out emotion from the simplest moments. Frances McDormand is phenomenal in this role. She completely embodies this character and works in so much nuance in every scene. The entire supporting cast completely holds their own with some of the most naturalistic performances I've seen. It is unbelievable how well these non-actors are in the film.
I understand that there may be criticism with the plot, or more so the lack thereof. The film sometimes works as vignettes that happen over a year, but there is still a guiding narrative thats running throughout. It is a film that is more concerned with the personal journeys our characters go on rather than the physical one their nomadic lifestyle supports. It is a film that understands art is a emotive experience. A film that understands life is beautiful in the most simple moments. A film that knows life can be hard and cruel as much as it is beautiful. A film that knows lifes contradictions are a beauty in and of itself. Nomandland is simple, character focused, and offers up a lot to think about regarding our own priorities in todays world.
Beautifully crafted, elegantly written, sad yet hopeful. A journey through America that is the perfect counterpart to a metaphorical emotional journey we all will go through in our lives.
I asked in the beginning, "how do we keep moving on when everything we love holds us back?" I guess we won't know until we take that first step.