- By QUENDRITH JOHNSON
- Photo Courtesy of SEARCHLIGHT
When Frances McDormand and Peter Spears optioned the rights to Jessica Bruder’s book, “Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century,” there was no Pandemic. So the maskless hugs and gatherings in this Chloé Zhao-directed film are bittersweet. But this is not a story about the superbug. Instead we get to ride along as Frances McDormand’s “Fern” discovers her later-life true self in a kitted-out van that is her home as a widow. She is part of the “gig economy,” temporary workers who migrate across country. “The book is a work of investigative journalism,” says Zhao, helming her third film here. “Half of the book focuses on nomadic living, and the other half is actually undercover reporting—Jessica went undercover at Amazon and worked at the beet harvest.” “Our process on NOMADLAND was a challenge for both of us because we were imposing the hybrid of non-professionals from the nomad community and David Strathairn and I as professionals acting our roles,” McDormand explained. “Another thing that I offered to the story from my life is a set of dishes in a pattern called Autumn Leaf… I brought my silverware, which I think is pretty nifty.”
NOMADLAND, may remind Academy voters that the journey of Frances McDormand on screen has not even reached its peak yet, nor has the remarkably emotional viewfinder of director Chloé Zhao. NOMADLAND displays resiliency with American ingenuity, and how you can work with just about anything, anywhere in this great country.
Watch for it to release February 19th, from Searchlight Pictures. For more details, click here.