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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

The Road Goes Ever On

Nomadland (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

babyThe circle of life unfolds piecemeal. Circa 2011 aging, nomadic Dave (David Strathairn) quits the high­way to come visit his new grand­child on the family farm and stays. He invites his road weary comrade Fern (Frances McDormand) to settle down with him and this gives her a decision to make and us a movie to frame it in.

woman teacherHer pal Linda (Linda May) had warned her of opportunities slipping by, “Fern, I have worked my whole life. I've worked since I was 12 years old. Raised two daughters. I couldn't believe it.” Fern was considered the eccentric in high school, brave, and she married straight­way after graduating. She spent the rest of her life with her husband Bo who loved working for the USG sheet­rock plant in company town Empire, NV. They lived in a company tract house and she was a substitute teacher. When Bo died, and the gypsum mine waned, and the company folded, and the town failed, Fern left—she had to—and adopted a nomadic life­style in a refurbished caravan.

wise menShe worked through the holiday season at an Amazon ful­fill­ment center in Arizona, then at various other jobs through­out the west, traveling in her caravan to seize opportunities. She picked up tips for living on the road, learned the ropes of a vagabond life, and formed alliances with people she met. She was especially fond of Dave and he of her, and now he is presenting her with a commitment opportunity.


dish washerOne of the people on the road mentioned what she liked most about America was every­body could to do what he wants. Hear! Hear! Sc-Fi writer Isaac Asimov has devised a plan to save a company expenses when comes to executives being relocated. Have company wives so when an exec. is reas­signed, he'll have a ready-made hearth and home to move into. No, thanks. That's un-American. If the company had told Fern they have a new husband lined up for her when her Bo died, she'd justifiably balk at the idea. She has a whole country full of eligible men to choose from. And if she did choose David for having got along well with him in their Wall Drug restaurant jobs in South Dakota, and if that meant settling into a house with a roof, she'd still be free to go out for a walk, to feel the wind in her hair, the sun on her face. She wouldn't have to be a vegetarian, either, if she liked meat. She's still American.

rsvpWe see something similar in the Bible. The Jews had a custom called levirate marriage. If a woman's husband being an eldest brother died and they were child­less, she was obligated to marry his younger brother to continue the former's line. The Jews in Corinth asked the apostle Paul if any of that carried over, and he replied, (1Cor. 7:39) “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” The latter phrase is like saying “in the land of the free” above. It's a given she'll carry on as a Christian irrespective of her decision at her absolute discretion. It's like a line from a James Grippando novel, “Jack was confused on many levels. ¶‘Your friend Molly strikes me as WASPy enough to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution’, said Jack. ¶‘She is. She fell in love with and married a Muslim’” (16). She's still a Daughter, and we expect her to act like one.

Of course, Fern has the option of turning David down and continuing her care­free life, and we won't begrudge her that. Neither did Paul, (1Cor. 7:40) “But she is happier if she so abide, after my judg­ment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.”

Production Values

” (2021) was written and directed by Chloé Zhao, adapted from Jessica Bruder's nonfiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. It stars Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, and Linda May. The mise en scène and cast were authentic giving the movie a cinema verité sheen despite its Holly­wood plot. The two leads, though, were real actors. McDormand was showing her miles but was easy on the ears if not on the eyes. The wallahs of the road were nothing if not realistic. Looked like some bums I've known.

MPAA rated it R for some full (distant) nudity. The cinematography by Joshua James Richards was outstanding. The pacing was slow, the characters mellow.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Serious discourses on friendship, heaven, and marriage form a mystical tableau. The third on the list is relevant because the whole film is set in the West where the people through popular vote or indirectly through their legislature, defined marriage as God set it up, hetero­sexual. It is an amalgam of a domestic partnership, a domestic church, and a domestic. The first is regulated by the state, especially when it comes to divvying up the goods in a divorce. The second is why a couple must bring their own witnesses when using the Justice of the Peace for the ceremony, as using officers of the court would violate the non-establishment clause of the Constitution. The third is what the feminists complain about. Judicial rulings back East and else­where, and then by imposition of the Supreme Court on every­one, didn't touch the domestic church aspect—out of sight, out of mind—and came up with a marriage equality formulation in the worldly sphere only. But we can still enjoy movies in the Western vein, and the peri­patetic people in this one didn't want to die in no hospital anyway, family visitors or not. As for loving each other, the companions on the road sure did and they had no court equating them with family. None of this is candidly addressed, but still the movie is not what I'd call queer-friendly. There was enough diversity out west that it didn't have to embrace perversity.

This one is up for the Oscars (as of this writing) and is worthy in my book. See it if you don't get bored with the mundane.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No strong action but much adventure. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Nature does it. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was quoted from the Authorized (King James) Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Grippando, James. Twenty. Copyright © 2021 by James Grippando, Inc. New York: HarperCollins Pub., first edition. Print.