Sometimes a movie will tickle your funny bone. Other times it will open your eyes or scare the bejeebers out of you. But, in the case of Nebraska, the Oscar nominated film from 2013, it will touch your heart and leave a lasting impression.
Shot entirely in black and white, Nebraska tells the story of an aging man (Woody Grant played by Bruce Dern) who believes he has won a million dollars through a magazine sweepstakes and his unwavering effort(s) to redeem his prize. The black and white imagery goes a long way towards depicting the vastness of the Great Plains, while also highlighting the clear dichotomy between people’s attitudes towards Woody.
Thankfully, Mr. Dern’s son in the movie, David, played exquisitely by Will Forte, agrees to drive his father from their homes in Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska, so Woody can claim his anticipated prize. Along the way, we learn a great deal about both of these characters and about the good and not-so-good folks of Hawthorne, Nebraska, where Woody was born and raised. First impressions are often deceiving and sometimes emotions run raw, but in the end, the legacy between this father and his younger son is fortified in a way that builds a lasting bond. The method chosen by the screenwriter for cementing their bond will break your heart and endear these two characters to you forever.
Nebraska is an absolute delight that reminds one of the magic of moviemaking and how great acting in a basic black and white film can stir emotions. If the last scene of this movie does not touch your heart, frankly, you may not have one.