DIRECTED BY: Alexander Payne
WRITTEN BY: Bob Nelson
STARRING: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk
RATING: 3.5 stars
Nebraska is a heartfelt and realistic film about regular people living typical lives, and that is what makes it so appealing. At times the film is sad, hopeful, nostalgic and funny as we learn more about the characters. Being shot in black and white is also effective for the story telling. While I am surprised that such a simple film is getting so much award attention, it is great to see a character-driven story being praised over bigger budget blockbusters.
David Grant (Will Forte) has just been dumped by his girlfriend and is working in an electrical store. He is annoyed at constantly having to pick up his wandering, elderly father Woody (Bruce Dern) who is determined to walk to Lincoln, Nebraska to claim a $1 million prize promised to him through some junk mail. David, his brother Ross (Bob Odenkirk) and their mother Kate (June Squibb) do their best to explain to Woody that it is a scam to get him on a magazine list, but Woody is determined. David eventually agrees to drive his father to Nebraska to spend some quality time with him and prove the prize is a hoax.
Dern is wonderful as the lost, vulnerable and kind elderly protagonist. Odenkirk and Forte are both decent but not exceptional. But it is Squibb who steals most scenes with her comedic timing and no-nonsense persona. The scene at the cemetery when she is talking about all the dead relatives and people in town is especially hilarious.
Nebraska is a bitter-sweet film and certainly relatable. It made me want to take a road trip with my parents.