“I’m not homeless, I’m houseless… Don’t worry about me, okay?”
Story: Fern is 61 years old, and picks up seasonal work at the local Amazon warehouse. She lives out of her van, because the company tract house she used to live in closed down…along with the gypsum plant in her all but empty town of Empire, Nevada. So she decides to head to an RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) to check out the nomadic lifestyle, and meet some of the people who call their vehicles home.
Genre I’d put it in: Dramas That Feel Like Documentaries
Remake, Sequel, Based-On, or Original: Based on the nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
Gotta say: I wanted to both sit with the after-effects of this film for a while, and immediately tell everyone that they needed to see it. So here I am, in my jim-jams, tapping out a review that I hope will tempt you into spending two hours on the road with these characters and people.
But first, a bit about the nomads of this film. These folks aren’t of the “hashtag VanLife” persuasion. No social media influencers here. These are individuals that for one reason or another – underemployment, loan debts, disgust with big business, or one bad day during a horrible recession – took to the roads to live as Grapes of Wrath-esque migrants. They move from job to job, going where their longing takes them, and where they can find work. When the stars align, both meet. Their lives are hauntingly beautiful, breathtakingly minimalist, and while they can be filled with happiness, it’s not an easy life one would pick on a whim. This is a whole world that I figured was probably out there – I’ve always heard about folks traveling the country and their RVs and such – but it’s still so new to me. It’s a mix of hope, and heartbreak. It touched my soul. With me? Cool.