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Moral of the Movie - Review

Nomadland (2021)

Academy Awards Special Edition

Drama, Directed by Chloé Zhao | Rating: Marriage Material | Published: Sept. 2, 2022, 12:13 p.m.


When one experiences grief or loss, it is perfectly understandable to be overcome with that feeling. Yet, it’s best to move forward without staying stuck in the past. Nomads apply that philosophy both literally and spiritually, but it’s a notion that all of us should employ in our daily lives. Nomadic life is a different way of life than most of us are used to, but everyone can learn from its many virtues such as compassion, hope, moving forward, solidarity, and most importantly, seeing each other down the road.


This movie is meant for patient moviegoers. Those who don’t need much in terms of action or narrative but can sit idly and appreciate the beauty of simple human interactions, human nature, and nature itself. If you’ve liked films such as Portrait of a Lady On Fire (2019) and/or Into The Wild (2007), then you’re more than likely to appreciate Nomadland (2021) the most.


“I’m not homeless... just houseless.” This film touches on a lot of incredibly important existential questions that we’ll have to encounter in at least one point in our lives. The themes of grief, loss, loneliness, death, and life’s purpose are all featured in one way or another as we follow Fern (Frances McDormand) through her nomadic journey living in a van and working in places across the country a few months at a time. This film is considered to be the front runner for the Best Picture Oscar. After seeing it, I can see why. Director Chloé Zhao fully immerses the audience into the experience of a nomad without holding back. We feel all of the same ups and downs that Fern goes through in this journey. What stands out to me the most is that Zhao isn’t really telling a full story here. Instead, what we see is a small portrait of what the nomadic life is like and how people like Fern come to fall in love with it. We understand where she’s coming from and at times where she stayed put, I wanted her to keep going on her nomadic journey. The solidarity between the nomads was depicted in such a manner that it made me appreciate the lifestyle that much more. As mentioned in the caption, the moral of the movie lies within the experiences of grief/loss and choosing to move forward without staying stuck in the past. While nomads apply that philosophy both literally and spiritually, it’s a notion that all of us should employ in our daily lives. In my mind, the film tries to show us a way of life that many of us will never experience but can be applied to all of our lives in some way, shape or form. From a technical standpoint, the film does this through mesmerizing cinematography, sharp directing, powerful music full of emotion, and authentic acting. Speaking of which, many of the nomads in the film are nomads themselves in real life and they play fictionalized versions of themselves in the film. This just adds to how genuine the cinematic experience comes across. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, Nomadland (2021) is a beautiful film that captures a different way of life through spectacular imagery, minimalist narrative, and phenomenal character moments that make the lifestyle feel familiar even for those who have never been exposed to it. For this year’s Academy Awards, I can definitely see it winning the most prestigious Best Picture Oscar.

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