2020, United States, 107 min.
As it does with millions of modern-day people, the promise of a traditional retirement has escaped Fern (Frances McDormand). Faced with the death of her husband and the loss of her entire town due to the Great Recession, Fern takes her battered, converted van where there’s work and a place to park. Her new family becomes a wandering band of older Americans who find security in transience. Director-writer Chloé Zhao tells Fern’s story simply and without any contrivances, allowing us to admire a woman who finds her center by traveling the country. McDormand, who served as a producer, delivers a lived-in, authentic performance that enhances the film’s message of resolve. Though the circumstances surrounding Fern’s lifestyle are sad, her determination to find purpose in her life’s breakdown turns Nomadland into an intriguing paradox, a life-affirming criticism of capitalism’s ceaseless grind. Winner of three Academy Awards—Best Director, Best Picture and Best Actress. Based on Jessica Bruder’s book.