A new movie about the nomad lifestyle starring Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand debuted in movie theaters and on Hulu Friday. The low budget “Nomadland” is receiving rave reviews. In it, McDormand’s character, Fern, loses her husband and then her part-time factory job in rural Empire, Nevada. She sets off to live in a van. With a barebones income, she travels through the American West. She picks up odd jobs and stays at campgrounds and on public lands, including near Quartzsite, Arizona. There she meets fellow van dwellers and RV boondockers. The photography of the American West is often stunning.
MOVIE TRAILER AND NPR RADIO REVIEW BELOW
Among Fern’s jobs are working at an Amazon warehouse and on a beet harvest in Nebraska. She also works as a camp host in Badlands National Park and in the kitchen of tourist-mecca Wall Drug in South Dakota.
The film is part fiction, part non-fiction. For example, some of the characters are real “nomads,” including van life guru and YouTube celebrity Bob Wells. “Nomadland” is based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book of the same name.
This nomad lifestyle movie is winning world-wide awards
Nominated for four Golden Globes, including Best Drama, “Nomadland” has emerged as an early Best Picture Oscar front-runner. It has swept nearly every major critics’ and festival award since premiering at the Venice Film Festival last September.
It remains to be seen how many people who see the movie will be tempted to take up the minimalistic “nomad” lifestyle. It’s not always easy. Then again, there’s a certain romance to it that many viewers may find a liberating, exciting way to live.
BELOW: Listen to a review of the movie from NPR
The movie can be streamed for free to Hulu.com members. It is also showing in many movie theaters.
Watch the two-minute trailer.