Brief Reviews: Nebraska

February 22nd, 2014, 10am

It was 3.3°C with overcast. The breeze was light.

If you’ve considered seeing Nebraska, go ahead and do it. Yes, it’s heartbreaking. Sometimes the best things in life are heartbreaking, you know?

Filmed in black and white, Nebraska is a bit of a sleeper hit: it didn’t have a lot of publicity outside of the awards circuit, and only came into my consciousness as a result of its five nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Directing, and Cinematography). From the first time I watched the preview though, I knew I’d love it. I’m fairly confident it would be hard for anyone not to enjoy the bittersweetness of Nebraska. It is, like so many of its fellow nominees but to a greater degree, a movie about life. It has human characters doing normal things, and dealing with the consequences. That, my friends, is the theme of the 2014 Academy Awards.

Bruce Dern and June Squibb (above) are truly enchanting, both together and apart. In particular, Squibb won me over for the sharpness in the delivery of her lines: she was completely believable whenever she was on screen, whether in the heartbreaking contrast to her husband (Dern), or when stealing the screen with her antics. I’ve never seen either of these actors on screen before, nor the final part of the trifecta, Will Forte; I’m equally remiss with my knowledge of director Alexander Payne’s previous work. Most likely other viewers will not be so naive to aspects of this movie, but I have no doubt that it’s engaging anyway.

After all, five nominations (and my should-win choices for both directing and cinematography) is no small feat. I was so happy I made sure to watch all of the best picture nominees (which was really where this whole project started), because ending with Nebraska was a real treat.

David Wade said thanks.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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