Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
New York Film Festival 2020 #1
In 2011, there was a market crash. This caused many lives to be ruined financially and emotionally. Fast forward to today, and there are still people out there who live paycheck to paycheck. Constantly drifting through jobs and financial debt. Francis Mcdormand's character Fern is basically going through a crisis in terms of financial debt, loneliness in the world and overall losslessness of life.
Chloe Zhao takes you through a western journey filled with hardships, instances of happiness and just walking through towns/parks. Meeting normal people who are struggling or just content with their lives. What struck me the most is the external monologues from normal/non-actors. Each of them tell their stories. Some are tragic, others aren't. It almost feels naturalistic. I think thats the best thing about this film. Naturalism.
Francis Mcdormand puts on another career defining performance filled with a lot of layers. Chloe Zhao's direction is immaculate and almost breathtaking to watch. The Rider was a good indicator of what she could become as a newcomer to independent cinema. Zhao takes all of the naturalism from The Rider and makes it better.
I dare say that this film is a great start to an interesting awards season. Maybe this might be the year where independent cinema will finally gets it fair share in the glamorous campaign season. Disney/Fox Searchlight has a winner on their hands.
Excited to check out the three Steve McQueen movies and I Carry You With Me.