[ Nomadland ] Nomadland feels more like a documentary than a ‘regular’ Hollywood feature film but there is no doubt that it was beautifully shot and told.

Apart from Frances McDormand and David Strathairn, the rest of the cast are real life drifters.

The fact that this was written and directed by Chloé Zhao is fascinating because it is unconventional, though no more ‘bizarre’ than Ang Lee helming Brokeback Mountain.

Both film, by the way, are set in the West and by that we don’t mean Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle.

Two pieces of work came to mind while watching Nomadland, one was Richard Avedon’s In the American West, the other Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.

What is a home? I think that is the big question the film may have been trying to answer. I find it a little hard to feel too emotionally attached because the nomads in the film keep insisting that they are not homeless, just houseless.

Several times, it is put across clearly that it is a lifestyle choice for McDormand, who I am pretty sure will win the Oscar but I don’t think Nomadland will win Best Picture, partly because I am rooting for Minari.

I would also say that Zhao is empathetic but not overly romantic. There are many good moments for me and they mostly involved saying goodbye though Bob Wells will insist there are no permanent farewell, more like “See you down the road.”