Director Chloé Zhao’s new movie Nomadland only officially came out today, but it’s already made history — and generated major Oscar buzz. With the 2021 Golden Globe nominations, Zhao became the first Asian-American woman to be recognized in the Best Director category, in addition to the movie’s other three noms for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress for Frances McDormand’s performance in the lead role. This buzzy drama tells a surprisingly simple story: a woman named Fern loses work in the town where she lives and moves into her van, driving across the country to pick up odd jobs where she can and meeting fellow nomads (many played not by actors but by real people telling their stories). It’s moving and sincere — and you can watch it right now on Hulu for free.
Nomadland‘s release onto streaming service Hulu means it’ll be able to access a huge audience, arguably a more important metric in coming years than even award nominations. If you already have a Hulu account, you’ll see the film available to stream starting today; if you don’t, you can sign up below and enjoy a 7-day free trial before deciding whether you want to commit.
Adding on to the realism of casting those who live a nomadic lifestyle in her movie, Zhao’s picture is based on nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, which digs into the reality of many older Americans, out of work and unable to afford a place to live, who roam across the country in an unofficial workforce and face an unimaginably harsh reality.
It’s not all doom and gloom — there are moments of connection, of shared humanity, and even joy. But Zhao and McDormand clearly do not intend us to forget the plight of their subjects, or the circumstances that allowed this to happen.
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