If you pay attention to the Oscars even a little bit, chances are you heard that the first Asian Woman won the Oscar for directing this last year. That same movie also won for Best Motion Picture, just a little bit of a feat.
Chloé Zhao made history with her poignant story and exploration of the nomadic lifestyle. Led by Oscar-winning (for this film) Frances McDormand and David Straithairn, Nomadland follows Fern (McDormand) as she loses everything with the economic collapse of her rural Nevada town in 2011.
In her sixties, widowed and forced out of her home, Fran packs all she has into a beat-up, second-hand van and hits the road. She travels from town to town, state to state in search of work. What started out as a need for survival soon becomes a chosen way of life. She meets other nomads who help her learn the skills she needs to survive on the road and become her adopted family.
In this beautiful, melancholy film, Zhao attempts to showcase the flipside of the American Dream. The world changed after the 2008 financial crisis, especially for many of us older Americans. Zhao attempts to answer – when the world is collapsing around you and memories are all we have left, is home just a word?
The gorgeous cinematography and on-location shots set this film apart stylistically. One choice of Zhao’s that really sets it apart? Many of the smaller parts add a touch of realism by featuring real nomads in the roles.
We’re not saying that this is the uplifting film to watch with a big bowl of popcorn, but it is a beautiful film that explores how dreams can change and how we can adapt and change to our circumstances.