Directed by: Alexander Payne
R. 115 mins
A remarkably resonant treat that proves Alexander Payne as a master of modest storytelling. Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) directs this black and white road trip drama starring Bruce Dern as a wiry Missouri father who’s convinced he’s won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes. Will Forte is the son who grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings, much to the chagrin of his opinionated mother (June Squibb).
With veteran Dern at the helm, there’s much to admire in this beautiful dramedy. Forte is a surprising talent outside of his Saturday Night Live schtick and Squibb steals the show in limited, but memorable scenes. Hope, dreams and despair all collide in this nuanced depiction of the relationship between fathers and sons, and all the greys on the spectrum of love. Nebraska is a story of one family, but it’s also about the unique landscape – the American Midwest that seems to decay before our eyes with images of barren countryside, twisted trees and crumbling bars filled with men who also haven’t realized any of the dreams they once had.
With a quiet elegance and grizzly charm, Nebraska is one of the best films of the year.