It’s easy to get the feeling that Frances McDormand has really taken a shine to some of the more fringe movies out there, isn’t it? But the thing about it is, she absolutely rocks the roles that she takes on since one can honestly believe her when she’s on-screen and there’s no other way to go but to keep watching since there’s a story there that we want to see, no matter how long it takes to unfold or what direction it will take. Nomadland feels like the type of movie that one is bound to watch from front to back without saying a word until the final credits roll and it’s time for discussion since the point of the movie is pretty straightforward. Even the idea of being a nomad, someone that simply travels from place to place until they’re ready to move on again, is kind of tough for a lot of people as putting down roots in a spot is very important for some folks, while for others, staying on the move and seeing as much as they can is more important and requires that they keep moving to either satisfy a need that they have to never stay too long in one spot or to keep on the move to see as much as possible. For some, it’s a hard life, but for others, it’s the only life.
To be fair, if one has the financial freedom to make it happen this is somewhat appealing and could possibly be a lot of fun. But commitments such as family, a home, and a job, as well as anything else many people might have that they feel the need to tend to, will keep a lot of folks from uprooting and moving on. For nomads though, the very thought of moving on when they feel the need is how they operate. McDormand’s role as Fern, a woman that’s experiencing homelessness, or ‘houselessness’ as she states in the movie, almost feels as though she hits a point of desperation in which she’s attempting to simply keep going in order to have something to do, something to look forward to, and possibly a way to get away when things get a little too real for her. Living in her van as she interacts with actual nomads, this movie takes place in various locations where it’s seen that people who share this lifestyle congregate and get to know one another before moving on down the road, where they may or may not see each other again. It sounds like a very uncertain way to live, doesn’t it?
The idea of it is kind of appealing since it gives one the sense of not being bound, or tied down to anything or anyone, but as the other trailers for this movie show, it can be a bit lonely even with the community of fellow nomads that make the experience a little more enriching. This is especially true with the memories that each person carries and has to face eventually. But McDormand is already being pushed for an Oscar run which isn’t too surprising since she’s the type of actress that gives so much to a role that one can’t always tell where the character is ending and she’s beginning, or vice versa. That being said, this movie actually looks like something that might hit a lot of people in the feels since it looks like something that might imply freedom and the ability to move about as one will, but it also feels as though it might speak to the nature of being a nomad, having few if any real ties and not being bound to any one place. There are ups and downs for this kind of life since one can imagine that there are few safety nets that can help a person out financially, emotionally, or even mentally. It’s a harder life than many could possibly live since it’s opening oneself up to the open road, the landscapes and horizons that have yet to be seen and reached, and it’s doing so in what could be called an absolute free fall since the life of a nomad might be one of community with their fellow travelers, but if that’s their only safety net then it’s one that shifts positions continually and isn’t always as dependable.
This movie looks like something that could make a lot of people think about life and what they know about it since many people might simply call these people gypsies and have done with it, but watching the movie might give folks a better understanding since gypsies are part of a cultural group, where being a nomad is a lifestyle that people choose. Knowing that difference might make it easier to enjoy the movie just a bit more, and not run the risk of offending anyone.