Alexander Payne has quickly raised to the top of the cream of directors list. Each film has gotten better than the last. His last was a pure polished masterpiece with George Clooney in The Descendants. His latest is as good as his first and as touching as his last. His films have a great mix of dramatic comedy unlike anyone making films right now.
Nebraska is the touching heartfelt story of an aging, booze riddled man from Butte, Montana who believes he’s won a million dollars and is determined to claim his fortune by making his way to Lincoln, Nebraska come hell or high water. When his loyal son reluctantly son agrees to take time out of his schedule to drive his father to Lincoln to prove to him it’s a scam. Along the way Woody (Bruce Dern) meets many long lost family members and old acquaintances who try to pull money from him because of his giving nature. When things go terribly wrong Woody’s son keeps his word and drives him to Lincoln to see if he has won.
The story is of a family dangerously close to falling apart and one who has experienced hard times as well as hard living. But there is still love there. Woody’s son can still see that underneath all this his father still has love for himself and his brother.
Will Forte and Bruce Dern give performances that light up the screen and have a father son bond that is so genuine you have a true feeling for them both. Despite knowing Woody’s letter is most likely a fake you just want some good fortune to fall upon the family that needs something right to go it’s way.
In the end Forte feels his fathers love and is the one who helps him feel important and lucky. Alexander Payne has such a genius way of pulling such unhappy and serious situations and finding the light in them. He is a true film maker in every sense of the word in our time. His relatable characters can be identified with in many aspects by so many.
It is a film that film lovers will cherish and feel good about having seen this year. All nominations and any awards are more than deserved.