Nebraska (2013)


“Where’s your family?”
“Oh, they’re over in the Catholic cemetery. Catholics wouldn’t be caught dead around all these damn Lutherans.”

It’s three days later, and I still can’t think of a great deal to say about Nebraska. I’m a massive fan of The Descendants, a fantastic film that I have such an incredible amount of love for, so this is quite a surprise.

The cold, sparse, small setting for Alexander Payne’s latest outing couldn’t be more different to The Descendants, which has a backdrop of lush, humid crowdedness.

However, it’s not the space that makes Nebraska so slight. The small town-ness is what makes it charming, filled with colourful characters and quirks, and a closeness where nothing is kept a secret. It has a pace and structure of a long, winding road trip to no where in particular, just watching the world pass by in a continuous, repetitive stream of trees, grass and bitumen, aimless, relaxed and slow.

But like any car trip, it eventually gets tedious, putting one to sleep. The length is occasionally punctuated with numerous events that make it more enjoyable in the moment, but then that point in time ends, and it’s back to meandering along once again, until the destination is reached, which isn’t as exciting as hoped.

Overall, Nebraska is a fun, small and quiet film, that is nice, light entertainment when being viewed, but once the end is in sight, you know how this journey is going to end. Certainly an interesting choice for a Best Picture nomination given it’s scale and disinterest with the grand or dramatic, but June Squibb’s truly scene-stealing turn is very worthy of awards attention.

Perhaps the pot-of-gold pursuing jaunt that Woody and David go on is trying to tell us that it’s the small, seemingly ridiculous moments that matter the most in life, and to sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Rating: 3.5/5


Nebraska receives a wide release starting today (February 20).

M (coarse language and sexual references), 115 mins.


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