‘Nomadland’ Movie Review

May 25, 2021

Nomadland is a film which gleans insight into a segment of American society that is, quite frankly, disheveled. Yet it is not the individuals who can be considered for blame in their dilapidated termination of life, away from a permanent residency out of necessity. For the film very elegantly introduces to us the concept of a failed State, one whereby playing by all the “rules” still leaves one broken and disposed.


These peripatetic vagrants abuse no substances – and it was very generous for the film to leave that out of the equation. Perhaps it gives a more frightening portrayal of a society which has no concern for its future well-being, to leave people with the expectation of work empty and abandoned when what they love doing and showing up for disappears over night, as is the case with [Ms. Francis McDormand’s] character, Fern.


One may be perturbed as to how these lost souls became so ransacked and left with nothing but themselves and buckets of their own excrement. As if they had no savings? What is neglected in such an examination, however, is their ability to save at all. Working for decades accumulates the transfer of their earnings in the form of income taxes to a blind and unchecked Leviathan which has no consideration of how these “citizens” are treated. In fact, typical of wickedness, the conglomeration of governmental authority’s encroachment on its citizens is self-interested. And the malnourishment is clear and potently concise with this film.


To think: such cinematic images reflect an authentic reality in the United States! This, almost a century after the Great Depression and its haunting images of destitution. What happened to forward progress? We can see, clearly, in the outright abuse of the salt of the Earth and their false expectations of a government erected to support their well-being contra the reality. There is a job center illustrated – yet it is clearly understaffed by individuals who have no direct self-interest in promoting the well-being of their fellow human; only to show up and push paper to satisfy the wage requirements of their own labor.


The film does a remarkable job using real life nomads to authenticate an ugly experience hidden from the glamour of profit-motivated journalism more obsessed with a President’s hair than to reveal to its feeble-minded audience the ugliness of their social participation in a forced collective. One which only has the pretense of care and consideration for its fellow humanity, when it cannot even achieve that on its own home-front. Nomadland then helps reveal to a global audience the veritable morbidity of a failed planned State with the abstract illusions that managed human action can support the well-being of its citizenry rather than if they were given their naturally ordained autonomy at moving the world, say, away from the possible miserable conditions of a flat tire in the middle of nowhere from the decades of earned income rightfully determined by their own lives – and not from the meddling of others who pretend they know best. The beautifully silent self-reflectance of Nature in the landscape helps center the audience in reassuring the carved rocks are ancient reminders of the frailty of man and the folly of his plans. That, this too shall pass.


Grade: A-


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