Nomadland ★★★½

A quiet, contemplative & absorbing portrait of the human condition, Nomadland brings the van-dwelling nomadic community's way of life to the film canvas with a level of intimacy & understanding that's seldom seen in such stories. With a touch of serenity in every frame and compassion in every interaction, the story offers an emotionally enriching experience that simply humbles the heart, mind & soul.

Written, produced, directed & edited by Chloé Zhao (The Rider), the story follows a woman who journeys through the American West after losing everything in the Great Recession. There's a tender beauty & ethereal quality to Zhao's storytelling & characterisation. Her writing exhibits careful consideration, her direction brims with unfailing gentleness, and the addition of real-life nomads in scripted spaces helps bring an authenticity of its own.

Further uplifting the experience is the sumptuous cinematography that captures those breathtaking landscapes with finesse while the unhurried approach allows the viewers to bask in the gorgeous sceneries with our protagonist. Camerawork remains composed throughout, lighting is perfect, and Ludovico Einaudi's music strikes an evocative chord with the heart. And then there is Frances McDormand who elevates it some more with her silent & stimulating showcase.

Overall, Nomadland is an exquisitely crafted, elegantly narrated & expertly acted neo-western that approaches its genre from a wholly refreshing perspective, and makes for a cinematic ride that's not only riveting & illuminating but also spiritual. Establishing Chloé Zhao as a filmmaker of enormous talent & distinctive vision, her latest film marks a massive forward step for her career, ranks amongst the finest entries in Frances McDormand's body of work, and is a strong contender for Best Picture Oscar.

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