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Nebraska

8/10
Drama . Adventure . Comedy
 

An aging, booze-addled father takes a trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim what he believes to be a million-dollar sweepstakes prize.

 
Actors: Bruce Dern , Will Forte , Bob Odenkirk , June Squibb , Stacy Keach , Missy Doty , Rance Howard , Kevin Kunkel , Angela McEwan , Devin Ratray
Directors: Alexander Payne
Country: USA
Release: 2014-01-24
More Info:
  • Steve Persall

    Not much happens to Woody in Payne's movie, compared to modern penchants for rushed narratives and easily defined characters. Yet patience pays off, with a suitably minor triumph for such an unassuming man. And a major acting triumph for Dern.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Only someone with intimate knowledge of the Midwest’s singular cadences, social codes and confounding emotional stew (er, covered hot dish) of aggression and politesse could pull off something as masterful, meaningful and poetic as Nebraska.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Damon Wise

    A charming road movie that develops into a full-blown study of life and roots, offering a beautiful insight into the way families migrate and change.

    Empire Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Nebraska is not a breakneck, screwball farce - although it has its moments, like the comical heist of an air compressor from a farmer's barn. Payne's film is loping. It's deadpan, poignant, absurd.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Mostly, Nebraska impresses for its sure rhythms and artful balance of comedy and melancholy, resulting in Payne’s most satisfying film since "About Schmidt."

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Shot in beautiful tones of black and white (and silver and gray), Nebraska is steeped in nostalgia, regret and bittersweet moments. Yet it’s also a pitch-perfect cinematic poem about the times we live in.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Nebraska offers something deeper and more mature, the ability to make us care about its characters and their story on a different level than Payne has given us before.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    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.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    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.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    And Dern, a great character actor who made his mark opposite everyone from Redford and John Wayne to Jane Fonda, embraces the roll of a lifetime.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    Throughout, Payne gently infuses the film’s comic tone with strains of longing and regret, always careful to avoid the maudlin or cheaply sentimental.

    Variety Full Review
  • Bob Mondello

    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.

    NPR Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    It’s a career-capping performance by Dern, who is so convincing as an addled, drunken, embittered and probably dying man that he doesn’t appear to be acting, but Forte is just as good playing a preoccupied, emotionally constricted man-child.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    I’ve always admired this director’s commitment to both seriousness and laughter, to showing the beauty and significance of ordinary human life side by side with its petty, venal absurdity.

    Slate Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    This is a comedy, with plenty of acutely funny lines, a handful of sharp sight gags and a few minutes of pure, perfect madcap. But a grim, unmistakable shadow falls across its wintry landscape.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    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 Dissolve Full Review
  • Amy Nicholson

    Nebraska is the antidote to other family charmers about goofballs in matching sweaters.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    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.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    A co-star deserving special mention is Nebraska itself, which Payne films in black-and-white to mirror the austerity of life on the de-populated prairie. These corners of the Cornhusker State are as empty as the promise of a sweepstakes prize. In this land of ghosts, one old pioneer tries to grab his stake before he becomes another windblown husk.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The movie has a longing melancholy that leavens the humor — it’s a surprisingly sad, gentle comedy.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It’s a movie that floods you with emotion when you least expect it.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Nebraska is a rambling affair. It's about characters and dialogue. There's not much of a narrative to speak of - this is even more minimalist than "About Schmidt" or "Sideways."

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Christy Lemire

    Nebraska is full of complicated people marked by flaws and failures, mistakes and regrets; they can be selfish bastards, too. It often feels as though Payne is trying to strip away the cliché that the region is populated exclusively by hardworking, decent hearted types.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Just try to take your eyes off Dern. In his finest two hours onscreen, he gives a performance worth cheering. There's not an ounce of bullshit in it. Same goes for the movie.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    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.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Even the tiny roles in this Rockwell-meets-Breughel panorama are perfectly, although almost cruelly, cast.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    Nebraska isn't a perfect movie. It's often hard to tell whether Payne, an Omaha native, is paying heartfelt tribute to his vast stable of Cornhusker characters or slyly mocking them as simpleminded yokels.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Philip Kemp

    A pitch-perfect performance from Dern graces Alexander Payne’s latest roadmovie – another bittersweet meditation on the sad, comic futility of life.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Nebraska is as cold and unforgiving as its setting, yet just as stunning.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Capturing family on film — the real rhythms of family, with all the annoyances, awkwardness and affection — is tough. Tougher still is wrestling a story around the murky emotional waters of Midwestern relatives. Yet one needn’t be cut from that cloth to see the hilarious beauty, and the beautiful honesty, in Nebraska.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Robbie Collin

    This is a resounding return to form for Payne: there are moments that recall his earlier road movies About Schmidt and Sideways, but it has a wistful, shuffling, grizzly-bearish rhythm all of its own.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    Nebraska may not be startlingly new, and sometimes we can see the epiphanies looming up over the distant horizon; the tone is, moreover, lighter and more lenient than in earlier pictures like Sideways. But it is always funny and smart.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    More than ever Payne allows the humour to rise up gently from his story rather than burst through it.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    [A] wryly poignant and potent comic drama about the bereft state of things in America’s oft-vaunted heartland.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    An authentic piece of Americana. There's no lying or condescending from this director. Nebraska feels pure.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    Much of Nebraska is ordinary prose, but the best parts are plain-spoken comic poetry.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    It’s a filmmaker’s conceit. These filmmakers may come from Nebraska, but, from the looks of things, they don’t want to be spending much time there.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Bob Nelson’s original script, a sort of unlikely cross between “The Last Picture Show’’ and “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,’’ offers a biting satire of Midwestern life that Payne sometimes allows to border on condescension.

    New York Post Full Review
  • R. Kurt Osenlund

    In the film, Alexander Payne's overview of America is extraordinarily, multifariously profound.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • David Denby

    Bob Nelson wrote the script, which Payne has been mulling over for nine years, and some of it, enhanced by the deliberate pacing of his direction, is funny in a deadpan, black-comedy way. But the absurdist atmosphere feels thin: the movie is like a Beckett play without the metaphysical unease, the flickering blasphemies and revelations.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    There are some laughs – and a few moments worthy of tears – but there’s a breaking point of believability in here somewhere that keeps Nebraska merely good as opposed to great.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    It's a sad, thoughtful depiction of midwestern eccentrics regretting the past and growing bored of the present, ideas that Payne regards with gentle humor and pathos but also something of a shrug.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    Nebraska is a small-scale quixotic adventure about the importance of dreams, no matter how pie-eyed, in which the outlined flaws could all be forgiven, if it just went somewhere a bit more surprising.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • David Fear

    If the overall effect of Nebraska’s father-son bonding and attention-must-be-paid pathos doesn’t quite have the zing of the filmmaker’s best work, he’s certainly got an ace in the hole.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    Payne, who never met pathos he didn’t feel inclined to puncture with slapstick humor, has somehow made his best drama and his worst comedy rolled into one.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
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  • montana

  • small town

  • dementia

  • aging

  • road trip

  • f word

  • pickup truck

  • lincoln nebraska

  • nebraska

  • sweepstakes

  • confronting the past

  • billings montana

  • air compressor

  • highway travel

  • old woman

  • racial slur

  • gay slur

  • repayment of debt

  • karaoke

  • local celebrity

  • local newspaper

  • gossip

  • incommunicability

  • watching tv

  • grumpy old man

  • prize winner

  • rural setting

  • lottery winner

  • war trauma

  • war veteran

  • stubborn old man

  • drunkenness

  • mount rushmore

  • newspaper

  • road movie

  • lottery

  • punched in the face

  • pregnancy

  • dentures

  • railway

  • hospital

  • one million dollars

  • state name in title

  • state in title

  • territory name in title

  • one word title

  • public humiliation

  • gullibility

  • mother son relationship

  • receptionist

  • motel

  • on the road

  • altered version of studio logo

  • laconic

  • secret affair

  • cemetery

  • runaway

  • old age

  • bar

  • family relationships

  • alcoholism

  • american midwest

  • elderly

  • father son relationship

  • title spoken by character

  • old man

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