* * * * * (Don)
* * * * (Joyce)
We were well into “Nebraska” before we realized that it was filmed in black and white. That’s probably because it is a dark, bleak movie that takes place in a black and white environment. It will be labeled a “road movie.” It is, but it is so much more.
Bruce Dern gives the performance of his long life as Woody Grant, the alcoholic, aging, dementia-prone, ornery man from Billings, Montana, who is determined to get to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect the million dollars he is convinced he has won.
We’ve all received those enticing letters from magazines that tell us we have won the big prize....if we have one of the winning numbers.
Woody’s wife (the hilariously nagging June Squibb) insults him to the point of torture, leaving him to quietly mumble a variety of comebacks. This poignant movie has some of the funniest lines and scenes you will ever see.
Woody can’t drive any more, so after attempting to walk to Nebraska, he finally is taken by his son (Will Forte) out of compassion for the old man. They stop along the way to visit the town where Woody grew up, staying with relatives they haven’t seen in years.
Meeting his old friends and family is a challenge for Woody, and a revelation for the audience, creating some of the funniest and most poignant scenes I can recall. When they think he has won a million dollars, their attitudes and actions change dramatically. Watching old, boring relatives attempt at communicating with really nothing to say to each other is both funny and sad...but oh so realistic. There are so many interesting characters, each with a lot of suppressed feelings that eventually come out.
We find ourselves cheering for Woody and his son and thrilled with the ending of this totally different movie.
Woody Grant is one of the best characters I’ve ever seen in a movie, and Bruce Dern deserves an award for his portrayal.
Rated R because of some profanity. Don’t let that stop you from seeing this great movie.