My Review: Nebraska

Photo: Chris White
Nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Nebraska is a great father/son tale filled with outstanding performances.

The film follows ailing father, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) who is booze-addled and believes he won $1 million in a contest although it's actually a ploy to order magazine subscriptions. In order to claim his prize, Woody has to have his certificate redeemed at an office in Lincoln, Neb.

If he had the million dollars, Woody wanted to buy a truck since he's never had one before - despite the fact that he should no longer be driving - an air compressor to replace one that was stolen from him years ago and a little legacy for his sons Ross (Bob Odenkirk) and David (Will Forte). 

Not trusting the postal service to deliver his "winning" certificate for redemption, Woody is determined to walk to Lincoln if he has to. However, David obliges to drive Woody to Lincoln and the pair set out despite reservations from Woody's wife, Kate (June Squibb).

The trip is waylaid at Hawthorne, Neb. where, coincidentally, Woody and Kate grew up. Woody and David stay with relatives until Kate arrives a couple days later and they end up having a full blown family reunion. Although news of Woody becoming a millionaire was to be kept quiet, it ends up spreading throughout the town.

It seems like everyone is happy for Woody at first but it turns out that he has a few scores to settle from his past. The news creates some colorful interactions with family and friends including Woody's old business partner, Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach).

Woody and David escape what could have been a very bad situation in Hawthorne and make it to the office in Lincoln, where the code on Woody's certificate was not a winner, dashing hopes of the million dollars. But this trip was not a complete loss as David learns a lot about Woody and why he is who he is. David is able to connect and spend time with his aging father - something much more valuable than a million dollars.

Nebraska is a very unique film. The deadpan humor brings a light feel to a story line that gets pretty serious about midway through. The decision to film in black and white was genius because it allowed for viewers to see the film for what it's worth and not get distracted by any color elements. The choice to film in black and white also emphasizes how Woody views his life. He sees things as they are with no grey areas.

The story of the film is a marvel in itself but the performances given by Dern, Forte and Squibb only add to the brilliance of this film. It's out on Blu-Ray and DVD now so, if you can go snag a copy. You won't be disappointed.  

I Give It An: A

Check Out The Trailer Here