Film Review: NEBRASKA

Directed by Alexander Payne
Written by Bob Nelson
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach

Woody Grant (Dern) is an addled octogenarian and alcoholic who has never been much of a father, husband or money earner. When a certificate arrives in the mail telling him he can come to Nebraska to claim his million, he sets off at once. On foot, since he is no longer permitted to drive. His son (Forte), a young man also down on his luck, agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska, although he and everyone else knows the certificate is meaningless. Along the way, the two men pay a visit to his family, who are also convinced Grant is now a rich man. Eventually his wife (Squibb) and other son (Odenkirk) show up too and together visit Grant’s past. Squibb nails the role of a wife disgusted with what life has dealt her with great expertise.

NEBRASKA is a character study from the director who gave us ABOUT SCHMIDT, SIDEWAYS, and THE DESCENDANTS, and it continues Payne’s fine record of telling a story from the inside out. In other words, it’s about people rather than action. Payne lives in Omaha and he captures it here without glory but with care and respect. Many of the cast are non-professionals but their cadence and faces lend the movie a veracity you can’t find fault with. The acting is first-rate from everyone involved. Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott