An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.
15 November 2013 (USA)
- Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career as the headstrong Woody in the brilliant, wisely observed and wryly funny Nebraska. What stands out is the fullness of the character, with mannerisms and expressions that make him wholly dimensional.
- What’s extraordinary is what happens at the intersection of Mr. Payne’s impeccable direction and Mr. Nelson’s brilliant script. The odyssey combines, quite effortlessly, prickly combat between father and son.
- The filmmaker has crammed Nebraska with orneriness, humor, greed, Americana and performances so natural they seem like found objects – especially Dern’s, which caps a career of character parts with a delicately nuanced character.
- Throughout, Payne gently infuses the film’s comic tone with strains of longing and regret, always careful to avoid the maudlin or cheaply sentimental.
- The movie is a triumph of an especially satisfying kind. It arrives at a kind of gnarled grace that’s true to this sorry old man and the family he let down in so many ways.
- Nebraska is one of Payne’s best films, a near-perfect amalgam of the acrid humor, great local color, and stirring resonances that run through his work.
- The movie is wrenchingly slow – you know from the start that nothing is ever going to happen – but Nebraska has a charm that grows on you like a lichen, a wicked sense of humor that makes you laugh in spite of yourself, a concealed heart soft as a Hostess Twinkie, and a generous, welcome respect for the basic decency of the human race, more valuable than any lottery ticket.