Having just taken home the Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director, Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland feels like the film of the moment. This chronicle of American outcasts, left to wander the various badlands of the country in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse known as The Great Recession, is a moving and heartfelt portrait of an abandoned sect of the population, forced to fend for themselves after the severe failings of our capitalist system. While their struggles are an undeniable fact of tragedy, by taking the responsibility of their livelihoods into their own hands, these nomads flourish as triumphant heroes of their own stories. Just the continued act of survival is something worthy of praise, and director Chloé Zhao does a marvelous job blending this celebration of their individual fortitude without undercutting the inherent tragedy that placed them in this perilous scenario to begin with. Frances McDormand is a tour de force as the central character, Fern, surrounding by a cast of genuine non-actor nomads who lend the story an undeniable authenticity with their candid recitations of real life struggles. Nomadland is beautifully touching and heartfelt piece of modern Americana without ever losing the inherent sense of tragedy that compels its narrative.
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