Guitars ,violins and a mouth organ humming out slow melancholic music; a black and white hue , characters with an average age of about 70, the movie Nebraska croons of the old country culture, into a beautifully rendered piece of cinema. No doubt it is one of the best “feel good” movies made. It delves into the depth of human emotions- love, obstinacy, greed, envy and a plethora more churned over to provide you with an experience that keeps you smiling almost throughout the movie. It contains subtle hints of comedy too, the kind which is charming once you get into the flow of the story and brilliantly seconded by the characters portrayed by the protagonist Woody, played by Bruce Dern, his old but sharp wife Kate, the character given justice to by June Squibb, his elder and practical thinking son Ross and his younger son David, who is more on the sensitive and compassionate side.
The movie follows the irrevocable decision made by Woody to claim million dollars he has supposedly won from a magazine company which uses the oldest gimmick in the book of printing a generic pamphlet that says Woody has won a million dollars which instills in him an excitement and a purpose in life, which is otherwise heading towards twilight. Now Woody is adamant on travelling to Lincoln, Nebraska where the company’s office is, to claim his million dollars, which he wants to use to buy a new truck and a paint compressor. His family members, aware of the authenticity of the pamphlet, discourage him but like a toddler, he is hell bent and would walk to Nebraska, if the need arises.
David, playing the part of the dutiful son and more importantly tired of his dad breaking out of the house like a prisoner looking for freedom, thinks that his father would not rest until he has got his money and embarks on a journey with his father filled with reunions, emotions and incidences. The movie deals with the reactions that people, including his own kin have when they come to know about Woody’s “great fortune”. When they see a potential millionaire in front of them, they are all affection and smiles. It also shows the way they turn when they come to know about the reality But most importantly it enunciates the circle of life: When people grow old and the “second childishness” comes along, the roles of parents and children are reversed. The only change is, the offspring often takes the role reversal as a burden thrust upon them and fails to provide even the minimum to the parents. All it takes is a gaze from a different perspective, a simple gesture of understanding that is more than enough for the parents to live and a source of satisfaction to the child’s heart.