“Nomadland” (PG) ****
IN this film, Frances McDormand plays Fern, a widow, the last resident to leave Empire, Nevada after the town’s single industry closes its 88-year old factory and the US Post Office cancels its Zip code.
Something of a polymath where jobs are concerned, she gathers up the necessities, packs them in her SUV campervan and takes to the road.
“Nomadland” has no perceptible plot. But it’s not a documentary. Nor does it show any hint of scripted dialogue as it follows Fern along minor roads in several of America’s middle states that, like in our island continent, are mainly desert. She’s in no hurry. She is good with people. She bears no resentment for the tough hand that life has dealt her. She makes friends. She helps people. People help her. Dave (David Strathairn, one of the very small group of professional actors in a listed cast of 48 people) might like to develop a relationship with her.
Now in her mid-60s, two-time Oscar winner McDormand is no feather-headed beauty. But I rate her watchability highly and there’s a brief passage in “Nomadland” in which her beauty is undeniable.
I first reviewed “Nomadland” at its short advance run last Christmas-tide. Since release last September, it has garnered 164 movie-industry peer-group and audience awards and nominations, including Golden Globes for McDormand and Chinese-born director (and co-writer with Jessica Bruder who wrote the book) Chloé Zhao and Best Film Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Now it’s here for as long as people come to see it. The wait has been worthwhile.
At Dendy and Palace Electric