Nomadland

Nomadland

The most conflicted I’ve been about a movie in a long time. On one hand it’s beautifully made and features the most heartbreakingly real performances by non-actors since The Florida Project, and on the other hand it feels like a dramatic Borat with a fake character or two plunged into a real world scenario that is actually affecting real people.

With the amount of actual nomads featured in this movie you’d think they could have just kept it a harrowing and beautiful documentary about people living on the fringes of society after being failed by it, and instead we get an extremely believable and affecting dose of poverty cosplay by McDormand and David Straithern. Seeing a fairly conventional fictional narrative get woven through the fabric of a real story was extremely unsettling, and knowing that real displaced/nomadic people were just hanging out outside while a person playing a fake nomad was pretending to have diarrhea in a bucket made for a very uncomfortable viewing experience.

To say it helps that the people playing the only “fake” nomads are two of the best actors working today is an understatement. They are phenomenal and their story “got” me, but I felt manipulated throughout and I didn’t really at any point understand why this movie was made the way it was. Hard to give a star review so I’ll just say it’s worth watching but you’re probably going to be left feeling preeeeetty torn and if you aren’t...  maybe we didn’t watch the same movie?

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