Before Chloé Zhao directed her upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Eternals, the acclaimed writer/director completed work on Nomadland, a quiet, intimate drama starring two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand as a member of the United States’ nomad community. Searchlight Pictures has released a new trailer for the film, which showcases this contemplative, lyrical movie which just might win McDormand her third Academy Award.
A brief word of warning: for those who want to experience many of this film’s most beautiful moments and speeches in context the first time, I’d recommend skipping this trailer. It’s a really great trailer that captures the movie’s tone very well, but in doing so, it highlights several of the moments that I found to be the most moving and profound, and the final film could lose some of its power if you’ve seen those moments isolated beforehand. I fully acknowledge that I’m a weirdo about stuff like this, and most of you will ignore this warning, but I just wanted to put it here in case you happen to be like me in this regard.
If you choose to skip the trailer, you could read our own rave review from earlier this year.
In the wake of the 2008 financial collapse and the loss of her husband, McDormand’s Fern takes to the streets in a van and begins living life on the road, looking for work where she can get it and sharing fleeting moments with other members of this under-explored community. Zhao, who frequently works with folks who aren’t professionally trained actors, does the same thing in this movie, with McDormand and fellow acting veteran David Strathairn (seen briefly in this trailer) sharing the screen with actual members of the nomad world.
It’s a naturalistic movie that explores ideas of loss, resilience, and just how tough it can be to survive in this country when the world deals you a bad hand. But there’s hope in it, as well: it’s a movie about the importance of finding a community, and after this godforsaken year in which people are not only isolated, but also experiencing another round of economic devastation, it feels more timely than ever.
Here is a brand new poster:
And here is the movie’s official synopsis:
Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West.
Nomadland made the festival rounds this year, but is set to open to wider audiences on February 19, 2021.
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