Review – Nebraska


Continuing our run in the Alphabet Challenge (Alphabet Challenge), we’re upto ‘N’ and for this, we’re heading to ‘Nebraska’.

This 2013 drama remains the most recent film by director Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways).

It stars oscar nominated actor Bruce Dern (he’ll always be Freeman Lowell from 1972’s ‘Silent Running’ to me), as Woody Grant, an aged alcoholic  retiree who has received a magazine subscription offer, suggesting that he has won a million dollars as part of their advertising campaign.

Led to believe that he is eligible to collect his winnings, the film opens with him being found attempting to walk from his home in Montana to the company’s office in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The youngest of his two now adult sons, David (played by actor and comedian Will Forte) collects him to take him home. Over the next few days, Dern re-attempts the journey, leading his son to finally agreeing that he will take him on the journey.

The story follows the two initially as they set off on their journey, later joined by Woody’s other son Ross (Bob Odenkirk) and his wife played by June Squibb when they pay a visit en route to Woody’s hometown of Hawthorne

As they spend time in Hawthorne, they meet a number of people from Woody and his wife’s past, helping David to understand his father more and more.


The confusion about the lottery win aside, this is a story about a son trying to understand who his father really is, and how he became who he ultimately is. There are some remarkable touching moments in the film and Dern’s dead pan performance stands out in the film. Especially his disinterested review of Mount Rushmore.

Its shot in black and white and features broad sweeping landscapes as the two make their way across the states.  As with Payne’s previous work (Sideways especially), its delicate and subtle in construct but has a lot of heart and charm.


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