I walked into the theater to see the movie Nebraska, knowing very little. I’d read a review, in which my eyes glassed over of course, but I could barely recall a single detail, for which I was grateful. This was, for me, a deeply satisfying movie, about an old man who convinces his son to escort him to Nebraska. So it’s a father/son road trip. That should be enough information, right? You just want to know if I was floored by this movie, right? Well, I’ve already said I was, so I will simply add that the movie is beautifully shot and includes moments of dark humor and tenderness and wisdom. The acting is outstanding. How actors achieve this high-wire effortlessness never fails to impress me.
I suppose the reason for my reluctance is that I wonder what young people will think of the movie. As a grown man who lost his father about two years ago, I can’t help but view nearly every old man I meet through this lens. So many old men have the same grizzly glare and befuddlement and gleam that I saw in my old man. In the movie, when Will Forte, who plays the son, becomes exasperated or proud, I couldn’t help but think back on the last couple of years I had with my own father. And this movie became, for me, a sort of gift.