Movie Diary 12/15/2020

Nomadland (Chloe Zhao, 2020). Another fine one from the director of my #1 from a couple of years ago, The Rider. Frances McDormand plays a modern American wanderer, living in her van, going where the work is, staying in motion. The movie is made up of little bits gathered along the way, some polished, some not, all deliberately chosen.

The Forty-Year-Old Version (Radha Blank, 2020). A very original and very amusing look at a once-promising playwright (played by the filmmaker) coming to grips with disappointments and compromises on the cusp of turning 40. Part of the pleasure of the movie is the sense of a “fresh new face” arriving, but with four decades of observations and experience built in.

Lovers Rock (Steve McQueen, 2020). A house party in the 1980s, which unfolds with the rhythm of an actual party and without the need for a great deal of storytelling. Some wonderful sequences powered by music. Probably the best movie McQueen has made, but I haven’t seen the other segments of his Small Axe series.

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