Connect with us

Entertainment

Is the Criticism of Best Picture Front-Runner ‘Nomadland’ Valid?

Published

on

Many people are criticising Chloé Zhao’s Oscar front-runner Nomadland because it doesn’t go out of its way to criticise Amazon’s repugnant work conditions and the way Amazon treats its employees. First of all, I’d like to say what should go without saying: Amazon’s notorious mistreatment of its employees is abhorrent. The criticism that Nomadland needed to address this, though, baffles me. Especially because the people who are criticising Nomadland for merely featuring Amazon are completely ignoring the fact that films also nominated at the Oscars that these same people are praising, like One Night in Miami, Borat 2, and Sound of Metal, are literally made by Amazon. We seem to have lost the idea that a film can just exist as a piece of art. A film is not a documentary (not this kind of film at least), it’s not an article, it’s not an exposé, it’s a piece of art, and it should be crafted like that, not like an article or a non-fiction book that has the time and ability to address every issue it grazes past. A film doesn’t need to say or do anything. Film is an art form, a medium through which many people happen to express an opinion or a criticism of something, but it absolutely is not necessary. Although having said that, people are behaving as though Nomadland is just a vapid 2-hour film that has nothing to say other than be a character study. Nomadland does in fact have a powerful message in it.

Linda May and Fern, from Nomadland, while working at Amazon

In Nomadland, Fern, played by Oscar winning actress, Frances McDormand, spends only a number of weeks working for Amazon and it’s only a few minutes for the audience, it’s one of the many jobs we see her do, the film would be thrown off-kilt if it took five or ten minutes out of its runtime to address these issues. The film as a whole is a commentary on the failures of a capitalist society and how a fixed economy hung many out to dry and forced them into the nomadic life. No-one in the film chose to be a nomad, they had a happy domestic life until it fell apart due to an unstable economy that left those at the bottom to be eaten. These people are happy, yes, but they didn’t choose to be there, they’re making the best out of a bad situation. We see Fern’s sister and brother-in-law, have a happy life in a nice home in a nice neighbourhood, which is a stark contrast to Fern’s van which is constantly on the move. We see Fern and her fellow nomads struggling to survive. Fern even says that she needs to work because the benefits from the government aren’t enough. That is what the film is about, that is what the film is criticising. The very existence of this film is a scathing indictment of capitalism, the mere existence of people who are forced out of their homes and to live in vans or trailers is the criticism people are looking for. 

People claim that Nomadland ‘missed an opportunity’ by not criticising Amazon because they could’ve done it when Fern is working there, or Linda May or Swankie, but just because they could doesn’t mean they should. As I’ve said, film is art, and it doesn’t need to because the film is not a documentary or an op-ed on Amazon’s working conditions, the film is a piece of art. And Amazon is only in the film briefly and it would ruin the tempo to take some time to address that when it isn’t necessary because that isn’t what the film is about. The film is about Fern and her grief over her husband and her adapting to this new walk of life into which she has been thrust, not that Amazon doesn’t treat its workers well. Just because Amazon’s ethics and business practices have been in question very publicly lately doesn’t meant that Nomadland needed to address it. Nomadland is a poetic character study, not a non-fiction piece of journalism, that’s what the book is. Jessica Bruder’s book on which the film is based does take time to criticise and tell stories of people who worked at Amazon under these horrendous conditions. The book is a non-fiction journalistic masterpiece (I recommend it to everyone), but the film is not, and should not be, a film about Amazon’s malpractice because it would take time away from Fern and her story.

Complaining that Nomadland doesn’t deal with the way Amazon treats its workers is like complaining that David Fincher’s Mank doesn’t deal with racism or homophobia that was so rampant in Hollywood at the time. Mank takes place during an era rife with racism and homophobia and in an industry rife with racism and homophobia and yet we see none of it. And no-one complained that it didn’t touch upon it, because the film isn’t about that, Mank is about Herman ‘Mank’ Mankiewicz. And Mank is entirely about that era of Hollywood, Amazon only features in about three minutes of Nomadland‘s 1-hour 50-minute runtime, it’s a fleeting moment, we see Fern in many other jobs. It’s about Fern, about her life falling apart both personally and financially. We see her using a bucket as a toilet a few feet away from where she sleeps, right next to where she cooks and eats, and a few feet away from where she sits all day as she drives to find another place to stay because she has no permanent home. How can people see these scenes of Fern and not see that this is the criticism they want, Nomadland criticises capitalism and, by association, does in fact criticise Amazon; all these nomads lost their jobs because of huge corporations.

Overall, while I do not agree with this criticism, it is not without merit. As I’ve said, Amazon’s working conditions are detestable and is something that does need to have a light shone on and be discussed. So, I do understand people’s desire to see more of that in media, I just disagree that Nomadland is the place to do it. Criticising it because it doesn’t explicitly condemn Amazon despite the film as a whole being about the failures of a capitalist society and that older people especially are casualties of capitalism, seems tedious rather than heartfelt to me. There is a deep message and criticism within this film, it’s presented in a visually beautiful way so it’s easy to miss but the criticism people are craving to see is sewn into every frame of Nomadland.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Entertainment

Jonathan Majors Arrested in NYC For Assaulting a Woman

Published

on

By

According to TMZ Jonathan Majors has been arrested in NYC for reportedly assaulting a woman. A source told TMZ the woman tried sneaking a peek at his phone, after which, Majors got angry and grabbed her hand, slapped her and reportedly put his hands around her neck.

TMZ sources say, the alleged victim had visible injuries — “Including a laceration behind her ear, redness and marks to her face. She was taken to an area hospital and is in stable condition. As for Majors … he was cuffed and taken to jail on the spot, as police felt there was enough evidence for probable cause. We’re hearing he is currently out of custody.” — TMZ

A rep for Majors says: “He’s done nothing wrong. We look forward to clearing his name and clearing this up.”

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Entertainment

Robert Downey Jr. to Star in Remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ from ‘Peaky Blinders’ Creator

Published

on

Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man) has been mostly off the radar since he exited his legendary role in the MCU as Tony Stark. Though he’s due for a big next few years, he’s signed on to another project that will reimagine a classic film.

According to an exclusive from Deadline, RDJ will headline Vertigo, which will be a remake of the 1958 psychological thriller from the mind of Alfred Hitchcock. Downey Jr. would fill the lead role originally played by James Stewart as a former detective who is forced into retirement after traumatic experiences with his time as an on-duty officer which leaves him with the titular condition. The film will be produced by Paramount and written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke). Paramount’s involvement makes sense as it was the home studio for the original film and Hitchcock’s estate favored the studio for a remake of the cult classic. 

Though we had mentioned that Downey Jr. has been out of the spotlight for a while, however, he has a role in Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated film, Oppenheimer in July. He’s also currently filming Park Chan-wook’s HBO limited series The Sympathizer which is in collaboration with A24. He’s also been in talks to reprise his role as Sherlock Holmes for a trilogy ender along with filmmaker Guy Ritchie.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Comedy

A24 Sets Ensemble Disaster Comedy ‘Y2K’ starring Rachel Zegler, Jaeden Martell + More

Published

on

A24 is coming off a major Oscars coup with its Best Picture-winning Everything Everywhere All at Once, but now, they’re headed for a major ensemble comedy film from the lens of Saturday Night Live‘s own Kyle Mooney. Per Deadline, it appears that Mooney will direct the disaster film titled Y2K which comes from a script from Evan Winter.

The movie boasts a major ensemble that includes the following: Jaeden Martell (It), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story), Mason Gooding (Scream VI), Julian Dennison (Deadpool 2), Lachlan Watson (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Tim Heidecker (Us), Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus), music artist The Kid Laroi and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless). The film is set on NYE 1999, where two High School loners (Martell and Dennison) decide to crash a big party before the end of the millennium, however, when the clock strikes midnight, it becomes a disaster unlike anything they could have ever imagined.

A24 will back the pic that also features Jonah Hill and The Bear creator Christopher Storer amongst its behind-the-scenes producing partners. With such a major ensemble, it seems like it could be a mixture of This Is the End with touches of Hill’s directorial debut, Mid90s within the 90s-set disaster comedy. 

A24 ‘Y2k’ Cast

Martell is probably the most recognizable actor amongst the ensemble having starred in the It films as the younger version of Bill Denbrough. He also has appeared in recent years in films such as Knives Out, St. Vincent and Netflix’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. He’s also the titular character in Apple’s series, Defending Jacob and is set to lead the upcoming reboot of The Lost Boys alongside Noah Jupe and Charlene Amoia. 

Zegler is best known for her debut role as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story in 2021. Her star power continues to rise as she’s already joined DC’s superhero universe for Shazam! Fury of the Gods which is currently in theaters. She’ll also play Snow White in Disney’s 2024 live-action remake of the iconic animated film and lead the upcoming prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes alongside Hunter Schafer, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis. 

Dennison first came on the scene when he starred in Taika Waititi’s indie dramedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople with Sam Neill. He followed that up with a major role in Deadpool 2 and then later joined the cast of Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021. Gooding is one of the starring members of the ensemble in Scream VI, which is currently in theaters. Hechinger starred in the first season of The White Lotus as the son of Connie Britton and Steve Zahn and will next appear in Kraven the Hunter. Additionally, the older cast members in Silverstone and Heidecker are best known for roles in Clueless and Jordan Peele’s Us respectively.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRENDING NOW

Trending

CoastalHouseMedia.com is a property of Coastal House LLC. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies/owners.

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x