Review by Lucía Santiago Dantés

Opening in theaters November 2013, Nebraska is an interesting film to watch not only because of the formalistic B&W look director Alexander Payne chose for the visual style of the film, but the richness in the characters and the layers underlying in the story. No wonder the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or, but Bruce Dem was the one who won the Best Actor Award at the prestigious festival.

The film tells the story of a man troubled with Dementia and alcoholism named Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) who thinks he won one million dollar after receiving a junk mail letter saying he may be the winner of such amount. However his wife and grown up sons think he’s gone completely nuts this time. To make things worse Woody doesn’t trust on sending by mail the winning letter and choses to go to Nebraska to collect his price in person, even walking if there’s no other option. That’s the opening sequence of the film: Woody Grant walking on the side of the highway and stopped by the police.

His son David (Will Forte, Saturday Night Live), decides to drive him to Nebraska in an attempt to make him feel better and get that thing off his head once and for all. Also David sees it as an opportunity to bond with his father.

As the film progresses we see the family dynamics when an accident makes the rest of the family: Woody’s wife Kate Grant (June Squibb) and Ross Grant (Bob Odenkirk) reunite and hit the road again tackling some issues from the past, in a “one happy family” pack.

As they hit their hometown, David finds out more about his father and mother, sometimes even more than he wishes to know. We get to see some interesting characters who will try to take advantage on Woody’s sudden good fortune. At some point, even their own relatives try to take advantage of them.

Alexander Payne is known also for Sideways(2004) and About Schmidt(2002), both also road movies.


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