Woody Grant has won a million Dollars ! Only it is necessary to go to recover in Lincoln, Nebraska. Woody decides to go there, at all costs…
Even if this million in angel is just a scam.
Even if Nebraska is 1200 miles away and only his son seems willing to take…
Even though he knows that his old age and his experience are a weight that the other will not hesitate to throw him to figure if he does not share his hypothetical fortune.
It should be at the base, to really appreciate the world of Alexander Payne, and his way of posing as a storyteller of poetic melancholy human : NEBRASKA is not a part of these films called… panting.
The allergic to the snapshots of life, bubble, nostalgic, looks to wave to the soul will have to pass their way. Fans of the director will also be expected to be a pace even more soft, without the glamour of George Clooney, the finesse neurotic Paul Giamatti, the charisma of Jack Nicholson.
This road movie will have interest only if it truly seeks to unravel the mysteries of its main character, Woody Grant.
These will prove to be the dropper, random interactions soft or mean-spirited with his family, chance encounters with old acquaintances, and conversations shifted and caring with strangers.
The genius of the movies of Alexander Payne, is getting to tell the story of the lived experience of a Man, to describe his soul, through every small details. Here, a look (uh. a lot of looks, in fact), the, a story seemingly banal and yet full of meaning, here again, an empty room that brings back memories…
It is necessary, therefore, to observe, to be attentive.
A lot of things by the look of the characters, as important as what he sees than what the camera shows, that’s what everyone can say. It betrays often the real feelings of these people, feelings are always influenced by their experiences.
Davey, for example. The second son of Woody.
Davey accompanies Woody at each stage, physically, but also with insight : paraphrasing the situations sensible to the touch, he tries to understand his father, to reconstruct gradually the family ties he never had.
A simple boy who hides behind a barrier of cynicism and detachment. This protection, however, will assign to each event, each revelation about his father. While his father gave him to apparently done a lot of wrong, Davey is, paradoxically, very gentle and patient with him.
It is therefore necessary to observe Davey, because like his father, his emotions are spotted by being attentive to the intensity of his eyes : disbelief, astonishment, admiration of Woody. Indifference, sometimes sadness towards others.
Will Strong performer with accuracy, simplicity and minimalism.
His mother, is also a protagonist really interesting. First shown as a mundane old towerling, mainly because of the general indifference, she then reveals through a few spicy anecdotes which shaped this character, mocking, and vengeful toward others, but also full of tenderness hidden behind his aggressiveness towards her husband, her children.
June Squibb gives life in a few lines for this character, so fun and surprising.
And then the other. Each character exists outside of the film, it shows through the details, visible and invisible, that make up each of these existences, their lives, their habits. All these people who cross the road Woody Grant will have something to say, even if they express little. Either they will try to rip them off, or wake up a memory that seems to be gone, or will be the headlight, GPS, emotionally.
Because NEBRASKA also seems to want to talk about human greed, a greed which would be shown with lightness and without misanthropy, the opposite of Haneke, for instance. And if the protagonists in most young people are treated with less subtlety, the former are entitled to the same care of the leaf removal that Woody, even when their importance to the narrative is less.
“Moved by the power of a few glances, the touching story of a man, full of the unspoken.”
Woody, therefore, is the main character of this story in the sense that, in spite of himself, he always provokes a reaction in another, which usually leads to a revelation about himself, about his past.
Its behavior is cryptic, impenetrable, and scattered, returns to the other protagonists of their own fears of old age, of poverty, of loneliness, of the world.
Bruce Dern embodies Woody with a mysterious intensity. This is not a question of an actor, but subtlety in the interpretation. His emotions passed through his physique and left tired, but also and especially, by his GAZE.
Bruce Dern is Woody Grant, a sponge sealed : he looks always lost, in fact it is not that much… This is seen precisely in his look, the apparently empty, but one perceives reminiscent of vivacity, or the memory rekindles a flame that is strange, between, madness, innocence, bitterness and melancholy. His gaze holds on to it, absorbing everything. Each event has an impact on him. But it does not show anything.
However, this is not a disease, early Alzheimer’s… No, it’s just a type which creates a defence in a very personal against the world, escaping into the silence and a false misunderstanding of the other.
Discover little by little that is Woody Grant, pierce all the bubbles of the mysteries enveloping his personality, this is the real subject of the film.
Photography black & white film illustrates this well. She is continually seeking to illuminate the characters with the surrounding brightness, the magnificent landscapes of Nebraska, one of these suburbs to the hints of another era. As a desire to leave no gray area, no resentment in these men and women. This makes the film both solar and inconsistent. Because except for the melancholy, everything is treated with levity. No intention to shock or disturb, to prove anything, to make the film “oscarisable”.
Just moved by the power of a few glances, the touching story of a man, full of unspoken.
• Achievement : Alexander Payne
• Screenplay : Bob Nelson
• Main actors : Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, Mary Louise Wilson, Rance Howard
• Country of origin : USA
• Released : April 02, 2014
• Duration : 1h55mn
• Distributor : Paramount Vantage
• Synopsis : Woody Grant has won a million Dollars ! Only, it is necessary to go to recover in Lincoln, Nebraska. Woody decides to go there, at all costs. Even if this million in angel is just a scam, even if Nebraska is up to 1200 km, even though he knows that his old age and his experience are a weight that the other will not hesitate to throw him to figure if he does not share his hypothetical fortune.