Evaluation: ‘Nomadland’ energy in Fern’s every day challenges | Leisure

This picture, published by Searchlight Pictures, shows writer and director Chloé Zhao from left, cameraman Joshua James Richards and actress Frances McDormand on the set of Nomadland. Zhao made cinema rugged authenticity and often relied on non-professional actors and moments of chance when filming. She is nominated for a Golden Globe for best director.

Searchlight Pictures, with permission

Rick Brown, Yard Light Media

KEARNEY – For anyone wondering about the lure of the open road, someone like Fern is answering that call.

After her husband dies and the gypsum factory in Empire, Nevada closes, Fern loads her van with what she needs and sets off to find something elusive, something she can’t get to. With the closure of the plant, the village of Empire ceases to exist and even the post office sets the city’s zip code.

The setting for “Nomadland” feels as bleak as the snow-covered lockers in which Fern, played by Frances McDormand (“Fargo”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), sorts her belongings. Directed by Chloe Zhao (“Songs My Brothers Taught Me”), “Nomadland” follows Fern as she takes on a number of temporary jobs and lives in her van off the road.

In one scene she meets a friend in a big shop. Her friend’s daughter says to Fern: “My mother said you are homeless. Is that true? “To which Fern replies:” No, just without a house. Not the same, right? “

For many viewers, the film may seem pointless, without conflict. The real tension comes from Fern’s search for a sense of community and belonging. When given these very things, she refuses them in order to ensure the comfort and safety of her touring vehicle. As the story progresses, Fern builds a community of other outsiders. She makes deep and meaningful friendships with the other nomads – but always keeps them at a distance.