Welcome to the Panorama of the Mountains Blogging A to Z Challenge. This year I’m watching and reviewing movies from A-to-Z based on my ongoing Classic Movie Project. Most movies will be featured on one or more of three lists: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies (USA), The Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time (UK), and Cahiers du Cinéma Greatest Films of All Time (France). In some cases, I will be very creative in assigning a Classic Movie to a letter of the alphabet, and in a few cases the movie I watch will not be Classic Movies at all.
There are no “N” movies on the classic films lists that I hadn’t reviewed yet so today I’m reviewing a current film that is receiving a lot of praise.
Release Date: February 19, 2021
Director: Chloé Zhao
Production Company: Highwayman Films | Hear/Say Productions | Cor Cordium Productions
The always brilliant Frances McDormand stars as Fern, a woman who takes to living in a van and traveling the Western United States for seasonal work after the death of her husband and the closure of the gypsum mine in their home town of Empire, Nevada. While her friends consider Fern to be “homeless” she begins to find a certain freedom and self-determination in the community of van-dwelling nomads.
This movie basically has no plot but is more of a character study of Fern as she deals with issues of her past and learns to survive as a nomad. The film has a documentary character to it and many of the supporting cast are actual nomads playing themselves. The direction and editing by Chloé Zhao is impressive and this is an absolutely gorgeous. The American West, including some National Parks, are captured in all their glory as well as some unusually beautiful industrial settings.
I saw this movie tagged as a “Western” and I really like the idea that this is the modern Western movie. One of the characters even says that the vandwellers are the modern pioneers. While I don’t expect that Nomadland is a movie I’ll want to watch again and again, it is definitely worth watching at least once.