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Film Reviews: Nomadland
by the KinoCritics

Chloé Zhao, USA 2020

AWCH Film critics’ quick reviews:

“In an interview Chloé Zhao stated that there are two types of people. One who is a true nomad that gains an inner strength from being solitary in nature such as the character Fern; and the other who sees the road as a means to an end like the character Linda Mae. NOMADLAND was like a déjà vu for me as I reminisced about my past travels through expansive solitudes of my youth where like in the film, Nature taught me to have inner-strength and survival skills which I still carry with me to this day.” – (SRS)

“Frances McDormand delivers as Fern, showing us the freedom of the nomad life but also the potholes. How many people choose the life versus being thrust into it? It isn’t for everyone and perhaps fills an empty space for a time or for the long haul.” – (CR)

“Flo (Frances McDormand) discovers great beauty in the U.S., joining those who no longer can afford their middle class lifestyles. Homeless people also star, playing themselves in this revealing film by Chloé Zhao.” – (NT)

“NOMADLAND won first prizes at the Toronto and the Venice Film festivals. This was an incentive to view the showing in Hamburg. Frances McDormand plays the lead of Fern, a woman who jumps into her RV and drives around the US for 108 minutes. The photography is beautiful – all villages, mountains, animals, streams, etc., in Nebraska, Nevada, and California. I learned that nomads have no home; they are pioneers, part of the American tradition. It was amazing to see real-life nomads playing themselves, helping Fern/McDormand along the way. On the negative side, I see no reason why NOMADLAND should have received festival awards. Frances McDormand did her best, but playing an uninteresting woman living from day to day, is just not worth watching. The basic plot was too repetitious: a woman leaves everything behind to hit the road and travel selfishly, without purpose, for the rest of her life. Boring! That’s not what I call “get a life,” and not what I would spend my time watching.”- (BT)

“Set during the 2008 Great Recession, Chloe Zhao’s NOMADLAND explores life, loss, and meaningful connection. Undoubtedly giving the performance of her career, Frances McDormand plays the fictional Fern, a widow whose life is turned upside-down when the quiet Nevada town she calls home suffers a catastrophic economic collapse. She resorts to living in her van, making ends meet by working odd jobs, and ultimately finding a sense of community with fellow nomads in Arizona. While the subject matter is undeniably bleak, the empathic characters Fern encounters and the breathtaking American landscape make NOMADLAND shine.”- (EH)