TGP’s review published on Letterboxd:
few films make me angrier than important ones done wrong. and jeez, after 1 minute, i thought this was going to be a slam dunk; a movie about someone from a place that doesn't exist anymore, so now she wants to live in the only place that can't be taken from her - everywhere and nowhere. DAAAAYUM, sign me up.
unfortunately, what follows is just a whole helluva lot of moonlighting. it provides a platform for some real people to share real things that get really overshadowed by the choices made about how to portray them.
francis and david are put in a tough spot here. in any other circumstance, their performances would be awesome. but damn do they stick out like sore thumbs when paired with so many genuine people actually living this lifestyle. seems like they would have been better suited just tossing hidden cameras on fran, leaving her alone in the trailer, and shooting for as many weeks as it took for her to forgot there was a movie being made at all. there's just such a lack of authenticity in her coverage, like it was made by a prestige movie algorithm that decided documentaries are hot right now but name actors sell better.
that's one of my larger issues with the film as a whole: it tries to have one foot in two worlds. i guess your take on nomadland rests on whether you feel that approach succeeds or fails. for my money, i'd rather have seen it as a documentary.
nomadland is going to be a popular flick to publicly proclaim love for (it certainly goes out of its way to check all the boxes), but i feel like it will ultimately be forgotten as soon as award season is over. it's a pity party that constantly keeps you at arms length, feeling at characters instead of with them. too bad, we really needed this one to reach more than just the naval gazing cinephiles that want to pat themselves on the back for liking a safe movie about modern america. i really hope i'm wrong.
p.s. (additional grievances):
uninspired, unmotivated cinematography: we get it gang, you shot at magic hour, stop swinging the camera back and forth JUST for the flares.
a slowness that takes instead of gives. that shit just makes you boring, not artful.
bogus, tired, predictable, out of place, unnecessary love story. stop it, your screenwriting bibliography is showing.
cognitive dissonance to the extreme: director is literally shining a spotlight on counter cultural outsiders, and the rebellious victims of modern capitalism - including the notoriously undervalued workers at multi-billion dollar amazon - to demonstrate the cracks in commercialized america...and yet signed up to do the next marvel superhero movie for the mouse. sweet.