Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.
Nomadland is an absolute triumph of filmmaking, there’s no doubt about it. From the moment Chloé Zhao’s movie begins, it takes us on a lyrical sojourn through the hitherto unseen side of American living. This is not a film of homelessness in the wilds. No as Frances McDormand’s character Fern describes it “No, I’m not homeless. I’m just house-less” A voyage of self discovery in challenging times, brings with it a pilgrimage of freedom by the time the credits roll.
Frances McDormand brings a Career performance in a career of career performances as the troubled Fern, who finds her freedom in leaving everything behind as she travels in her van into the unknown and meets an incredible range of (real life) nomads who open her up to a whole new world which not only touches your soul but emboldens it at the same time. McDormand is simply terrific (As her now multi award winning performance will now attest) as Fern, played with a subtlety but with absolute power and conviction to make you believe she is as real a nomad as the actual ones featured in the film itself.
Joshua James Richards paints an incredible picture on his spacious canvas, as the cinematography is as much of one of the many nomadic characters as Fern meets along the way. Chloé Zhao manages ti understand this as she incorporates it in a way that envelops, absorbs and compels you to enter in and allow this movie to simply wash over your soul.
The other outstanding fragment of Nomadland is the score from the fantastic Ludovico Einaudi. While not an original score (The music is taken from several Einaudi albums, ‘Day One’ and ‘Day Three’ from Seven Days Walking are featured, as well as tracks from Einaudi‘s 2015 album Elements and 2007 album Divenire. To be quite honest we’d die happy if just about every film from here on in was scored by the incredible Ludovico Einaudi, as the Italian pianist/composer just manages to enable the proceedings to soar in a peaceful delight.
Make no bones about it, Chloé Zhao’s masterpiece has a modern day classic feel to it. And so if it looks like one, sounds like one, quite simply the conclusion is that Nomadland IS a modern day masterpiece.
Nomadland is released on DIsney+ April 30th followed by a cinema release May 17th 2021.