Frances McDormand explores the vast landscape of the American West in Chloé Zhao’s multi-award winning portrayal of life as a modern-day nomad.
The first few images of Frances McDormand as Fern establish the will of this woman straight away. She’s on her own, working itinerant jobs, hitting the road when it’s time to move on. Fern drives her old RV up and down the highways of America’s West, following the seasons and seasonal jobs. When she discovers a community of like-minded nomads, her heart opens, but she’s cautious about forging bonds. One man she keeps running into (David Strathairn) looks like a perfect match, but what does Fern need with a boyfriend — or anyone, really?
Adapting Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book, Chloé Zhao writes, directs, and edits with impressive focus. The film gets in and out of every scene with rare economy, cutting to the heart of each moment in our growing understanding of Fern. As we watch her eke out a living in precarious jobs, try and fail and try again to form relationships, it’s clear that we’re watching an incisive portrait of America right now set against a stunning vista of desert and sky.
MAC’s reopening cinema programme has been generously supported by BFI FAN Covid-19 Resilience fund from the National Lottery, through the BFI Film Audience Fund.
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