Nomadland is about Fern, a woman living out of a van while traveling across the U.S., and the people she meets along the way.
When the gypsum plant closed, it took the entire town of Empire, Nevada with it. The zipcode 89405 is discontinued, and Fern (Frances McDormand) is left “houseless” following the death of her husband and her career. Living in her van, Fern travels all over the United States, experiencing what life has to offer by never staying too long in one place. Her travels bring her into relationships with fellow wanderers, mourners, and strugglers representing their own real stories in this mystical, profoundly authentic film.
Death (off-camera), conversation about suicide
Brief non-sexual nudity
Drinking and smoking
Brief scenes with bodily functions: peeing, pooping.
I am always interested in films that highlight life experience outside of my own, that invite me to consider what life would be like in the world of the film. Chloe Zhao, Frances McDormand, and most of all the non-actors who play versions of themselves authentically convey the struggles and joys of living as a nomad in a beautifully human way. More than anything else I would say Nomadland is extremely, sometimes disturbingly human. We watch Fern struggle through diarrhea, cleaning filthy bathrooms, and picking up garbage, but we also get to see her rejoice in the simple purity of nature, friendship, and loss. Being lost, whether spiritually, financially, relationally, or geographically is a fear we can all relate to, but being lost isn’t always bad, and being found isn’t always good.
Q1: When was a time that you felt uncertain about your next destination? What did you do?
Q2: Can you remember any strangers you’ve met, good or bad, however briefly? What’s a way you could honor that meeting?
Q3: What are some ways that you feel particularly human? When do you feel the most vulnerable?