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Nomadland: The Movie We Need to See

The year 2020 was devastating in many ways. One of the American industries that suffered incredible loss was the film industry. With movie theaters closing around the nation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for good movies became scarce. Even in the midst of such a daunting loss, a few films stood tall among the others. Surrounded by its award-winning competitors, Nomadland (2020) arrived as a robust look at the art of homelessness. Nominated for six Oscars and winning three, the spotlight is placed on a lady in her sixties named Fern as she travels the country as, per her own terminology, a “houseless” person.

The focus of this film is clearly placed on the everyday happenings of nomad culture, but the cinematic beauty offers great insight to the culture of homelessness in general as well. The first example has already been quoted: there is a difference between being homeless and being houseless.

When asked by her niece if she is homeless, Fern replies, “no, I’m houseless. There’s a big difference, right?”

Though Fern lives on the road, a houseless nomad, she is not living a glamorous life. One thing I appreciate about the film is its painting of homelessness and van-life as something much more difficult than the young adventurers of our time might think. Many newlyweds have the desire to live out of a converted van and travel the States for a year, but not many would enjoy it if it was their only choice.

Following Fern, the viewer learns the struggle of things such as van maintenance, acquiring food, and being alone between trips to the RV Parks.

Overall, this film is necessary for today’s consumers. It shows that things like a falling economy and grieving the loss of a loved one can lead to a life of loneliness and houselessness, but it is not always a glamorous one. I appreciate Nomadland for its real portrayal of the everyday life of a nomad. Everything from their ideologies to the way they make money during the summer is explained well and gives the viewer the ability to peer into another life.

Written by: Justin Bower


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