Nomadland isn’t the usual film I would go to watch, but snapping up Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Actress in the Oscars had me wanting to find out just how good this movie really was!
Following the life of a sixty-year old Nomad called Fern as she travels across the American West, Nomadland is a story of loss, exploration, strength and community. Life isn’t so grand but the road stretches further than anyone can imagine, and Fern meets so many like-minded souls along the way. But is it a journey of living or merely a journey of survival?
Nomadland is one of those films that quietly sneaks up on you. There’s no action-packed drama, no clear-cut themes, no, well, plot I guess. One could argue that nothing much really happens. However, if anything I think that’s what makes this film so powerful.
I always find books and films really fascinating when they show life from the perspective of someone living a life so different to my own. We become so entranced by our own lives sometimes that we forget that not everyone lives in the same way. I’ll admit it – I’d never really considered the lives of Nomads before seeing this film. It’s easy to look in from the outside and question why someone would want to do such a thing, but this film really touched upon the motives of Nomads and the reasons why they chose this lifestyle for themselves, from grieving losses, to leaving the world of work behind, to embracing the minimalistic lifestyle.
The film felt like a documentary pooled with so many honest stories and, in a way, it was. The director sought out real-life Nomads to feature in the film and you can feel their authenticity through the screen – the close-up shots of their faces when sharing vulnerable moments makes for a very intimate atmosphere where you can truly connect to these people. Whilst their lives are so different, isn’t what we have at our core the same?
The more I watched the more I began to realise what was perhaps so attractive about the Nomad lifestyle – its sense of community. Everywhere they’d go, they’d meet someone along the road. Sometimes even the same person twice. It makes you think: Is community all that really matters? Do we need all the stuff we own? Does it amount to anything?
Paired with the beautiful music of Ludovico Einaudi – my favourite pianist – this film felt as immersive as it needed to be to drive home the feeling of pure freedom and weightlessness on the road. To me, the overall message was that there is never a goodbye, even when leaving a place; there is only a “see you down the road.” Connections and the people you meet – those are what last a lifetime, no matter where you go.
Have you seen Nomadland?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Let me know in the comments below!