Nomadland

Badlands National Park played a role in “Nomadland.” Photo by Steve Martaindale

If you’re watching the 93rd Oscars awards tonight, you might take notice of the movie “Nomadland” with six nominations, including best picture, best director for Chloé Zhao, and best actress for Frances McDormand.

The film comes across like more of a documentary because it features “real” people in the majority of the roles and many of them are portraying themselves … or some reasonable facsimile thereof. And that’s what drove Leah and me to make a theater visit – our first in 406 days. Our primary concern was whether the film presents a realistic view of what we do as seasonal workers.

The answer: Yes and no.

We saw things that reminded us of ourselves and of many friends we’ve made on the road. The jobs they portrayed were often similar. The comradery that can build between fellow nomads or migrant workers or seasonal workers was dead on.

The difference was that most of those featured in the movie are in a more desperate situation. The storyline is Frances McDormand’s character was forced to live out of her van due to an economic collapse. Money was hard to come by. For example, when one had vehicle troubles, it might be difficult to get back on the road without financial help from someone else.

While we are living full time in our RV, it’s a choice we made in order to trade in a more traditional life for things we wanted to see and experience. And, to be sure, the characters in the movie pursued those rewards as well.

As a side note, they filmed quite a bit in Badlands National Park, which we visited several times during the seasons we worked at Mount Rushmore. That was cool.

Summation: Take in “Nomadland” if you want to get another glimpse of the lifestyle we often talk about on this site. We’re confident the stories are accurate enough portrayals of what many people go through, but our own experience is simply not as desperate.

Enjoy and share your thoughts.

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