Have you seen Don McKellar?

Cannes 2013 Review: Nebraska


In essence you’re watch a tired old man try to find some substance in his quickly waning life on a heart-breaking trip to Nebraska. But it’s all the things that slowly reveal itself that really draw you toward this stubborn, alcoholic old fool.

Who’s in it?
Bruce Dern plays Woody Grant, an stubborn old man that believes he’s won a million dollars. His son David (Will Forte) decides to take him to Nebraska, throwing in bits of comedic relief along the way.

Remember getting a certificate in the mail saying you’ve just won a million dollars for your magazine subscription?

Well, the film starts off with Woody Grant (Bruce Derm) slowly walking along the Montana freeway, ready to claim his prize, without any regard to the on-going traffic or the police officer trying to talk to him.

Bruce Derm does a brilliant job demonstrating an aimless, alcoholic 40-year-old man that has little words to describe the reasons behind his rash behaviour. You can never tell what he’s really thinking when everyone around him basically makes him look like a complete low-life.

Coupled with Will Forte’s character as the son stuck in a lame retail job and in a recent break-up with a two-year-long relationship, you might see some similar elements between father and son. Although that isn’t the focus of the story, you’re instantly waiting to see the story unfold.

Along with many Alexander Payne movies, Nebraska features another beautiful selection of flawed characters desperately seeking some sort of meaning behind life and a sense of worth. These powerful thoughts are beautifully dramatized through the most mundane scenes that really take a kick to your heart.

We may be taking a step into memory lane with this black-and-white American road trip, but many of the character elements are very current with human nature in general. We all want a reason for living, and we want to leave the world with something special.

Although the film moves quite slowly, there’s so much development in Woody’s character that keeps you fully engaged and waiting for something amazing to happen.

Of course, we’re not talking fancy explosives. Instead you get taken through Woody’s hometown in central Nebraska and see the flawed characters he’s grown up with, raising the question of who really is the bigger fool in this neighbourhood.

If you’re looking for a film that provides you with meaning and substance about people living around you, you’ll love this classic Alexander Payne flick. It won’t bring you to tears from laughter or sadness, but it’ll just be a true, honest peek at what we’re all like, inside and out.

Should You See It?
Yes. I mean, it’s Alexander Payne. If you like his work, you’ll like Nebraska just as much.

Memorable Quote:
“I’m not trusting the mail with a million dollars.”

Amanda Chen

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