Nomadland: Plot Summary & Ending Explanation

‘Nomadland’ is a narrative about human endurance and the search of personal freedom at its most basic level. Director Chloé Zhao reinvents the road movie genre as a whole with the aid of her frequent collaborator and real-life partner, cinematographer Joshua James Richards, who creates a picture that is equal parts emotional drama and accessible documentary.

‘Nomadland’ chronicles a strange but increasing subculture in America through the eyes of its heroine Fern (Frances McDormand), in which millions of individuals approaching retirement age are forced to give up their houses and take the road in camper vans because they can’t afford standard accommodation.

The majority of these persons were affected by the financial crisis of 2008. Following the loss of her husband and the economic devastation and consequent collapse of the town she has called home for much of her adult life, Fern joins this new generation of nomads.

She is both an intimate spectator and a gradually eager participant in this lifestyle, providing the viewer with the ideal window into it.

On the road, she develops a peculiar kind of kinship with her other roadies, based not on intimacy (they don’t see one other for the most of the year), but on understanding and embracing each other’s conditions. However, the video also addresses a number of other issues. So, without further ado, how about we talk about a couple of them?

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Nomadland: Plot Summary

The economy of the whole town of Empire, Nevada, is ravaged in 2011 when the town’s major source of income, a US Gypsum facility, shuts down for good. Fern, who recently lost her husband Bo, does a variety of odd jobs to make ends meet. She spent most of her adult life working at the plant with Bo, but she doesn’t have anything to show for it today.

As practically all of the Empire’s citizens depart in quest of greater possibilities, the Empire quickly becomes abandoned. Fern also thinks she won’t be able to keep her house for much longer. Before permanently relocating into a van, she sells some of her belongings and stores the remainder in a warehouse.

She learns about nomadic existence from her friend and coworker Linda while working at an Amazon fulfilment facility. Initially hesitant, Fern realizes that it may be the best alternative for her if her temporary position at Amazon ends and she is unable to find another career. Following Linda’s guidance, Fern attends a desert meeting in Arizona, where she learns the fundamentals of contemporary nomadism from veterans of the lifestyle, including Bob Wells, a living legend in the society.

Fern becomes practically indistinguishable from the rest of the town as time passes. She discovers that her restless mentality is well suited to a nomadic lifestyle. It also aids her in coping with her loss. Throughout the film, she takes that pain with her. When she returns to Empire and the house she and Bo shared, it means she is finally ready to put that chapter of her life to rest.

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Nomadland: Ending Explanation

Fern is a character with a lot of depth. When she’s around her fellow nomads, she radiates true warmth and sincerity. When she goes to the RV show with her pals, she becomes almost childishly giddy. Swankie, on the other hand, is sober, helpful, and compassionate when she tells Fern that she (Swankie) only has a few months to live.

Her way of life, on the other hand, renders these opportunities for human connection extremely uncommon. She spends the most of her time on the road, alone in nature with her van, Vanguard. Zhao succeeds as a filmmaker when she conveys her protagonist’s profound times of loneliness.

Fern seemed to flourish in them, utterly immersed in the natural beauty she discovers on her journey. Fern floats naked in a secluded creek in one of the film’s scenes. Fern allows herself to be static, even if it’s just for a short while, because there’s nothing to intrude on her ultimate seclusion.

Fern’s development is subtly depicted in the film. She carries a strong sense of betrayal with her everywhere she goes. We discover that Fern and Bo married when they were barely adults via a chat she has with a boy she encounters on the road, and that they remained together for decades until Bo’s death.

Even though most of these were originally Bo’s reasons for being in Empire, she found excuses to overlook her innate restlessness in her marriage with Bo. He enjoyed working at the company and living in that town, and he was adored by Fern. That was the end of it.

When Bo died, her restlessness returned in full force, but she chose to stay in Empire because of the memories she and her husband had built there. Fern begins to adore the nomadic lifestyle once her circumstances drive her to do so, even to the point of sabotaging a potential future with David (David Strathairn) because of it. She turns down David’s invitation to stay with him, for the first time preferring a wandering existence over a domestic one, and returns to Empire.

Her return to her former house is also preceded by her poignant chat with Bob. They tell one other about their losses, offering each other peeks into the depths of their sadness. Bob’s older son committed suicide a few years ago, and the experience has left him with a great appreciation for nomadic life.

The nomads don’t say farewell to each other since the term has a feeling of finality to them. Instead, they claim they’ll run into the other person later. Even if it isn’t in this life, Bob believes he will see his son again.

Fern returns to Empire to tell her husband the same words. She sells the items she kept in the warehouse and pays a final visit to their home. It’s her catharsis moment. She’s not there to find closure, but to accept her wish to continue living.

She departs Empire because she no longer has anything to cling on to. Bo’s family was not active in their lives, and she and Bo never had a child. She sets out on the journey after promising her late spouse that they would see one other again. She has decided not to live only on her memories, and she is now ready to create new ones.

By not explicitly concentrating on the reasons why Fern and her fellow nomads had become itinerant laborer’s, Zhao avoids the problems that may have converted the film into an out-and-out social and political commentary. These topics are clearly addressed, particularly in the scene where Fern debates the property market with her brother-in-law and others.

Zhao, on the other hand, keeps everything under wraps, preferring to focus on the human element of Fern’s experience. Fern’s declaration that she is “houseless” but not “homeless” is an affirmation of her existing identity rather than a denunciation against global elites.

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