Bronze Label

Nomadland (2020)


“Nomadland” is a story about freedom, work, and the lack of social security, or at least the lack of some sort of financial stability. It also covers aging, and friendship. All of this poses the question if an alternative life is possible given the current style of economy.

One can perceive this movie in many different ways, and let me explain what it is not. In my opinion this movie is not entertaining, and was also not meant to be entertaining. Therefore, if you are looking for a funny, exciting, and plot driven story then I suggest that you pick another film to watch. Because this is mainly an experience driven film. However, there is enough plot development, character development, and interesting situations to keep you focused on the story. 

The main question I have is the idea behind this story. Why is this story being told? and for which specific audience was this created? I think that “Nomadland” perfectly tells a story of an alternative lifestyle that is extremely difficult to live because of the current economic infrastructure. The second idea that becomes apparent throughout this film is that all of the ‘alternative’ individuals that decided to live a nomadic life are somehow dealing with serious personal issues. You can ask yourself the question what the difference is between homeless, and houseless.  At a certain point the protagonist even says that she is houseless, but not homeless. However, each member of the audience (us) has to decide for themselves what the given situation is. Additionally, your answer to this question will be a mirror effect because it reflects your own position regarding an ‘alternative’ economy. I can imagine that you find this film highly annoying if you are a very conservative individual that despises any form of communal economy. On the other hand the people that love this ‘free spirit’ mentality will absolutely love it. 

My problem with this film is that it feels too much like a documentary that touches on the problems regarding major companies, and the housing crisis. However, you can also make the argument that this movie is very relevant because of such topics. But I still think that they could have used more amazing visual scenes to emphasize even more on the setting, and set design. This would also enable the director to focus more on the state of mind of the protagonist and the other characters. 

It seems that I am somewhat negative about “Nomadland”, but I would classify this as “critical” because there are a lot of good elements within this movie. The actors are doing an amazing job, and the director manages to capture the right moments from the right angles. Therefore, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this film, but it could have been even more of an experience, and less of a documentary kind of a film. A lot of times it’s about finding that balance, and I have to say that they were very close to that perfect balance between a fictional story, and documentary. However, there is room for improvement. Additionally, all of the characters were well developed, but felt boring at times, but this changes every scene. There are some nice interactions between main characters that make you feel more connected to this story. However, this really depends on your perception of the protagonist.

To conclude, I really think that this is a good movie, but that is mainly because I focus on story development, acting, and directing. The setting, and set design was another major plus point. However, it wouldn’t hurt to spend even more time on these aspects. I can imagine that some people are really turned off by the VICE documentary vibe which focuses on things that are very depressing at times. But maybe you will have to watch “Nomadland” multiple times to see all the different perspectives.  

Directed by 

Chloé Zhao(directed by)

Writing Credits  

Jessica Bruder(based on the book by)
Chloé Zhao(written for the screen by)


Frances McDormandFern
Gay DeForestGay
Patricia GrierPatty
Linda MayLinda
David StrathairnDave

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