A powerful character study filled with superb acting, NEBRASKA is another terrific film from Alexander Payne, who brought us "The Descendants", "About Schmidt" and "Sideways".
Bruce Dern turns in his best performance in years as Woody Grant, an elderly man convinced that the contest mailing he's received assures him a one million prize if he can make it to Nebraska to pick it up in person.
As Woody attempts again and again to walk to Nebraska, his wife Kate (June Squibb) and son Ross (Bob Odenkirk) get more and more frustrated. His youngest son David (Will Forte) is more sympathetic to his dad and decides to take a long weekend off to drive his Dad to Nebraska and indulge his fantasy.
There are plenty of discoveries on the road, all beautifully written by Bob Nelson and directed by Payne.
For those of us who have only seen Forte on SNL and 30 Rock, his performance here is amazing. With his first dramatic role, Forte matches Dern step for step.
Dern is fantastic, throwing every bit of vanity to the wind in his portrayal of the frustrated, beer swilling, quiet man who is thrilled to be "someone" even if its just a moment in time.
Along the way, Woody and David run into a lot of extended family and old friends, all of them sharing the same quirky, private, small-town sensibility of living in a world that's very small and very private.
Dern and Forte play off each other perfectly. Every moment feels real and there are no false "Hollywood" moments.
Squibb is hilarious as a woman that takes no prisoners. She's foul, funny brings great humor to the film.
NEBRASKA is quiet, beautifully shot in black & white and perfectly acted. Dern has often been great, but he's never been better. It's like a two hour glimpse into real lives, lived quietly, proudly and mostly in silence in the middle of our country.
We'll give this powerful, ambling little road trip an A.