Nomadland ★★★½

lacks the autobiographical verve that grounded zhao's previous work, but in fairness, we've come a long way from the jilted narrative structure of songs my brother taught me. nomadland asks compelling questions about the place of the frontier myth in the modern day, with fern's story being rooted in stoic detachment more than economic strangulation. the depoliticised context works, although i was left wondering how many of the other authentic nomads featured had the sort of safety nets afforded to mcdormand's character.

which brings me back to my first point, and the film's main problem - the tertiary cast of characters (playing their real-life selves) are all more interesting than fern, as convincing as mcdormand is. i suppose it wouldn't be as much of a problem to audiences who aren't aware of zhao's shooting methods, but at times the film's practically begging to be a straightforward doco.

the score by ludovico einaudi only appears intermittently, but it was never not intrusive and just straight-up bad imo. fuck off with that amelie-core, Deep Relaxing Piano Music spotify playlist vibe.

anyway s/o to the guy who exclaimed 'mamma mia!' at one point in the screening; long live the theatrical experience

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