Nomadland (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Chloe Zhao

Writer: Chloe Zhao (Screenplay) Jessica Bruder (Book)

Starring: Frances McDormand, Gay DeForest, Patricia Grier, Linda May, Angela Reyes, David Strathairn

Plot: Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Nomadland starts as we meet Fern (McDormand) a woman in her sixties that lost everything in a recession, her husband passed away, leaving her with next to nothing, Fern lives in a van, travelling around America in search of work, in a routine, where she meets the same people, while spending months at each workplace through the year, depending upon the season.

Thoughts on Nomadland

Characters – Fern is the new Nomad, she lost everything in a recession, forcing her to travel for work, with a routine selection of roles she will fulfil each year, meeting the same people to catch up, all with their own stories. She does get on with most people she meets through her travels, showing the support the whole community brings together for each other. Most of the other characters we meet in the film are the real nomads, they each understand their lives, making it feel like a lot of the situations could be seen as real stories.

PerformancesFrances McDormand is wonderful to watch in this film, she brings this character to life with ease, showing the sympathy she need, without every asking for it. Most of the rest of the cast are real nomads, that are here to tell their own stories of their lives, showing how they can still find the positives in their lives.

StoryThe story here follows a woman who lost everything and has turned to the life of a nomad, travelling around for work, making friends with the community of nomads, while still finding the best in life. The story here is a reflection of the modern day uncertainties in America today, showing that there will be a generation that will be forced to continue working when everything is suddenly taken from them. While the story isn’t the deepest, it is more about highlighting the community that have been suffering for so long with the current living conditions in America.

SettingsThe film takes us across the American West, showing us the different conditions that Fern sets up in for work, the different working environments she finds herself working in and the adventures she is free to take.


Scene of the Movie – Journeys never taken.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Leaving the dog.

Final Thoughts Nomadland is a beautifully shot movie, with stunning cinematography, sensational performance from McDormand, even if the story doesn’t go as deep as it could have gone.