Film Friday: Nomadland

It is sometimes said that life in this modern world (or is it post-modern, or post-post-modern, or post-post-post-modern, I’m unsure) favours the young. So much is angled towards them. Well, here’s a story that both reinforces and yet challenges that. When Fern’s town is shut down due to economic disaster she sells her house and takes to the road, living in her small but brilliantly kitted out recreational vehicle. It’s her home now and she’s named it Vanguard. She takes a temporary job at the huge Amazon packing warehouse where she starts to get to know a community of other Nomads, and so we meet them too. Some heartbroken, some ill, some disappointed, some finding a new way to make life work. All of them on the road and living out of their vans. They meet up at make-shift camp sites, have gatherings for learning about life on the road, and share their cast-offs and tales of the lives they once had. In the months ahead she takes jobs at a camp site, a burger restaurant and a beet harvest site. In a strange twist, when she drops in to see her sister, she leaves her comfortable bedroom in the night in order to go out and sleep in her tiny bed in Vanguard. This is a tale which both celebrates a different kind of life but also shines a light on a people cast aside. They liken themselves to shire horses, worked to death and then pushed aside to pasture. The Bible encourages us to show care and respect for one another, not least those who are older. Leviticus 19 verse 32 advises, ‘Stand up in the presence of the elderly, honour the faces of the aged.’ An old proverb puts it like this, ‘Those who respect the elderly pave their own road toward success.’ We live in a fast-moving, cast-off, success-driven world, and yet much of life is found in other things. Among the stories of loss and sadness here there is much about friendship, joy, service, laughter and life.

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