National Estate Churches Network

A film to watch

Nomadland – Frances McDormand

Film about gig economy worker

I recently watched a film with my son called Nomadland. He always reviews films as it is his passion, so here is Caleb Barron’s review of Nomadland.

I’m going to put aside the production of this film. Many reviews here take real issue with this film because it is a vehicle for a very wealthy Frances Mcdormand to her stardom with make-believe amongst genuine nomads without their knowledge .There is also, of course, the issue of the depiction of Amazon.

I put these, and other related issues, aside because this film isn’t about the true impact of the recession and the aftermath of 2008. If it were, it would be a toothless and useless attempt at an authentic take on that. What this film is is a careful meditation on grief and living a transient life. It achieves this very well.

The film is necessarily slow and yet never holds in one place for very long. It manages to balance this need to amble slowly through each moment whilst never staying still or lingering. This way, it’s able to create in its form something that is meditative whilst feeling nomadic.

There are moments in which scenes and moments and characters begin to layer on top of each other, supported by a pleasant score, and the film begins to reach for a visual poetry that will transcend itself. However, its transient nature makes it impossible for this ever to be fully achieved. That doesn’t make those sequences weak though. There are powerful moments that caught me by surprise, though these are driven entirely by the real nomads that we meet.

If you’re looking for an authentic exploration of the fallout from 2008 or even the closing of Empire in 2011, a documentary would have been far more satisfactory. If you’re looking for an authentic exploration of these nomads and their lives, I imagine the book is much more impactful and truthful. However, this film is a beautiful, and gentle, vision of living with grief and living transiently. As a viewer, this was more than enough for me to enjoy.’

You can view the trailer on

Sara Barron


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.