nick’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watching Nomadland is like seeing one of the best movies of our time, or arguably in history, at the earliest stage of earning its legendary status. Having showcased her enormous talent and grand visions in The Rider, Chloe Zhao truly challenged herself this time around with Nomadland, a story that's as anti-filmmaking as can be, a project that doesn't have a story to tell, or an entry point to dive in. Yet Zhao delivered once again, and blessed us with the best movie of 2020.
Detailing an aging woman's nomadic journey in the wilderness, Nomadland offers episodic snippets of the main character, Fern's life, from her dealing with the passing of her husband, to her reluctance to return to a "normal" life, and her lovely friendship with her fellow nomads along the way. It's safe to say that Nomadland doesn't have a "plot", or even if it does, it's not something crowd-pleasing by any chance. Yet Zhao still managed to extract the maximum potential out of an airy storyline, and add her unique ingredient of sensitivity into the whole naturalistic experience.
If Zhao is the mastermind of the project, then Frances McDormand is the perfect executor of Zhao's visions, whose emotional delivery never boils throughout, yet you simply can't take your eyes off of her even once. Personally McDormand gives her career best performance in this, and in a perfect world she should win her third leading actress Oscar for it.
2020 has been a tough year for everybody, and watching Nomadland at the last day of 2020 feels somewhat therapeutical, as it approaches the theme of life and death with such detachment and philosophy, it's simply an experience that's both necessary and unforgettable. Highly recommended.