Rent Nomadland (2020)

3.7 of 5 from 862 ratings
1h 43min
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Following the closure of a gypsum mine in the Nevada town she calls home, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road in this "exquisite film" (Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal). Exploring an unconventional life as a modern-day nomad, Fern discovers a resilience and resourcefulness unlike any she's known before long the way, she meets other nomads who become mentors in the vast landscape of the American West.
, , Linda May, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier, Angela Reyes, Carl R. Hughes, Douglas G. Soul, Ryan Aquino, Teresa Buchanan, Karie Lynn McDermott Wilder, Brandy Wilber, Makenzie Etcheverry, , Annette Webb, Rachel Bannon, Charlene Swankie, Bryce Bedsworth, Sherita Deni Coker, Merle Redwing
Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao
Chloé Zhao, Jessica Bruder
Joshua James Richards, Sergio Diaz, Zach Seivers, M. Wolf Snyder
Searchlight Pictures
Action & Adventure, Drama
2021, Award Winners, BAFTA Nominations Competition 2023, BAFTA Nominations Competition 2024, Through Time, Films by Genre, Films to Watch If You Like..., Getting to Know..., Getting to Know: Frances McDormand, Lions on the Lido, Oscar Nominations Competition 2023, Oscar Nominations Competition 2024, Oscar's Two-Time Club, Oscars: Winners & Losers, The Best American Road Movies, A Brief History of Film..., Top 10 Best Picture Follow-Ups, Top Films, What to Watch Next If You Liked Nomadland

2021 BAFTA Best Film

2021 BAFTA Best Direction

2021 BAFTA Best Actress

2021 BAFTA Best Cinematography

2021 Oscar Best Picture

2021 Oscar Best Director

2021 Oscar Best Actress

2020 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion

Release Date:
Run Time:
103 minutes
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 0 (All)
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Release Date:
Run Time:
107 minutes
Castilian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1, Latin American Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Castillian, Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Norwegian, Swedish
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
  • The Forgotten America
  • Telluride Premiere Q&A
  • Deleted Scenes

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Reviews (24) of Nomadland

Beautiful Drama - Nomadland review by GI

Spoiler Alert

A gentle and compassionate film that has a magical quality to it and seems to question the very nature of the American Dream. Frances McDormand plays Fern, a middle aged widow who has lost everything in the 2008 recession when the company her late husband worked for collapsed effectively closing down the town too. Without complaint she becomes a 'nomad', buying a van and travelling around the country following seasonal work. She finds a sort of peace and tranquil life amongst her fellow nomads who teach her how to live a satisfied and fulfilled life on the road. In a sense there's a post apocalyptic feel to the film and at times I was expecting the gentle nomads to be harangued by Hells Angels or something but this never happens as this is a film about finding a state of peace in life. There are many hardships and heartaches though for these people who bond in a most beautiful way and who have a catchphrase of 'see you down the road' even if this maybe in months or years and in some cases into eternity. America is painted here almost like a wasteland and often a harsh place and although Fern is offered a return to a 'normal' life on two occasions she rejects them in order to maintain the magic she's discovered. McDormand in a quite understated yet powerful performance is in every scene and deserves the accolades she has received, it's arguably her best role. This is a film that looks at America yet doesn't need to thrust the economic disaster of why people have to resort to this lifestyle into the story, it's presented here for all to see. A mesmerising film at times with a beautiful score and images. It's a film worth seeing at the cinema if you can.

11 out of 13 members found this review helpful.

All life is here - Nomadland review by AER

Spoiler Alert

Eloquent, poetic and moving, Nomadland isn't a romantic depiction of life on the road, it's tough. However, this film reminds us all that we have to recognise who we are and what we want from life. It's unsentimental yet very persuasive and sad. 10 out of 10.

8 out of 10 members found this review helpful.

Irresistible - Nomadland review by Alphaville

Spoiler Alert

Frances McDormand is a poor “houseless” woman who lives in a van and travels around the American West. If this was a British film it would be a political diatribe against “the system”. Instead it’s a wonderful paean to life on the road, the joys of solitariness, the spirit of community among like-minded travellers and, not least, the beauty of the Western landscape.

It adopts a documentary-style approach, with some of the travellers she meets being real-life people rather than actors and with scant a plot apart from the changing of the seasons and the triumphs and disappointments of everyday living. But it’s so gentle and beautiful to watch that you soon get drawn into the life and the epic landscapes along with the travellers.

7 out of 10 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Nomadland review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Frances McDormand plays Fern, a woman who used to living on her own since the death of both her husband and her town. Her life doesn’t seem happy but it doesn’t seem sad either. There’s a certain comfort she finds in living out of her car, traveling America from state to state in search of work. A film such as this could easily have been another commentary on the class struggle by making Fern a figure that is bitter and angry. She instead just feels a certain emptiness, quietly contemplating everything with her life on the road.

Her travels are unique. She hooks up with a group of other nomads who congregate in the desert and she not only trades for goods but learns certain skills, such as how to make a toilet out of a bucket. She also wakes up early one morning to witness an amazing sunrise. Fern says nothing during this scene, simply passing by other nomads and watching the light envelope the land, listening to the sounds of passing cars by the nearby road.

Fern’s life is one where she feels like she is a constant passenger. She bounces from job to job and sometimes runs into familiar faces. It may somebody from the nomadic group or someone she used to know from her days before the road. Her newest acquaintance she meets is Dave (David Strathairn), a fellow nomad who finds himself fancying Fern. Despite Dave’s many attempts to get to better know Fern, she’s not as keen to pursue a new relationship, especially when it is off to a rocky start. But for Fern, it’s more than just a broken heart. She just can’t bring herself to the concept of settling down.

She is given multiple opportunities to do just that and refuses for one reason or another. With her family, it’s easy to understand. She’s looked down upon by others and finds herself unable to stay in a home where people don’t have the highest opinion of her. Despite having borrowed money for car repairs, she doesn’t want to be known as the leech down the hall. However, with David, it’s a bit more complicated. The house of David’s offspring is a place that welcomes her but she just doesn’t feel that this is a place she can fit in. It may just be too perfect or just not her scene. Whatever the reason, she can’t stay long. She can’t stand staying longer in anyplace anymore.

Director Chloé Zhao gives her film this real quality and not just because she found actual American nomads to appear in this film with mostly ad-libbed dialogue. She shoots America in this somber and reflective light that lets the audience take in the experience of Fern in a manner that feels free of judgment. The soundtrack never tries to force an emotion nor do the many cold and light shots. The film is also expertly edited to only spend just enough time in certain places and with certain shots, never letting the camera linger longer than it needs to.

Nomadland may be a bit underwhelming or confounding for some in that it takes this almost ambiguous approach to Fern’s journey through 2012 America. Personally, the film just resonates in a way that invites the viewer in, trying to figure out Fern and just what she feels by the climax where she passes through her abandoned town. She seems like a ghost but not one that is haunted by the past. She may be searching for something but all we know for sure is that she has another destination in mind by the time she gets back to her van.

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