Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), a drunken, elderly man, receives a winning sweepstakes letter saying that he has won a million dollars from Mega Sweepstakes Marketing Prize and needs to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, to retrieve his winnings. With the help of his son David (Will Forte) they both set out to drive from Billingsley, Montana, all the way to Nebraska while making a pit stop in Woody’s hometown.
When I first saw that Will Forte was going to be one of the leading actors of this “serious” film, I was very skeptical whether or not the correct tone would be presented to the audience. I was pleasantly surprised and thought that he did an excellent job and will most likely have a nomination for the role. Newcomer June Squibb did a fantastic job as playing the role of Kitty Grant, the firecracker of a wife to Woody. She provided so much comedic relief while still maintaining the image of people that are born and raised in a Midwest, small town atmosphere.
This film really did an excellent job on focusing on the relationships between aging parents and their children. It focused on the importance of remembering where one’s roots are and how it is important to understand where you come from but also being able to evolve into an individual personality.
Nebraska has gotten a lot of press about how it was filmed in black and white as opposed to full color. Many find this a little pretentious, but I feel that it focuses more on the simplicity of that area of the country and the simplicity of the thoughts and morals of small town culture. The majority of shots in the movie were also very simple, traditional video shots that also added to the overall tone and theme of “simplicity”.
As a whole, I feel that Nebraska will have many nominations in this upcoming awards season as well as a lot of good press. It was an excellent movie especially because of the increase of people spending time with their own families this holiday season. The film is definitely worth seeing for its perfect casting and interesting choice of cinematography.
4 out of 5 stars
Director: Alexander Payne