Nebraska is a wonderful black and white film about a father and son on a road trip. Bruce Dern plays an aging alcoholic in Billings, Montana, who believes he’s won a million dollars (one of those mail scams to get you to buy a magazine subscription). He’s probably also in the early stages of dementia. He keeps trying to walk to Lincoln, Nebraska, where he can claim his prize.
One of his sons (Will Forte) reluctantly agrees to drive him there, even though he knows it’s a wasted trip. On the way, they stop in Dern’s old hometown and word quickly spreads that Dern’s character is now a millionaire. Friends (especially a nasty one played by Stacey Keach) and family (some of whom are from the shallow end of the family’s genetic pool) want some of the supposed jackpot too.
But mostly this is a film about a father and son’s relationship. And all these characters are ordinary, flawed people, sometimes lovable or funny or foolish, in the mid-west where the men are the strong, silent type and the women at least have conversations.
It’s a very impressive cast. Forte is especially good as the son and Dern delivers what may be his best performance in a long career of mostly supporting roles (his only Oscar nomination was for Best Supporting Actor in 1978’s Coming Home). The movie is funny, touching and a real treat for moviegoers.
Rating: five deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.