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Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.
- Directed and written by Chloé Zhao, based on Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.
- It's strange that you encourage people to invest their whole life savings, go into debt, just to buy a house they can't afford.
- We be the bitches of the badlands.
- Bo never knew his parents, and we never had kids. If I didn't stay, if I left, it would be like he never existed. I couldn't pack up and move on. He loved Empire. He loved his work so much. He loved being there, everybody loved him. So I stayed. Same town, same house. Just like my dad used to say: "What's remembered lives." I maybe spent too much of my life just remembering, Bob.
- Before I moved into this squeeze inn, I was out looking for work and putting in applications. 2008, and it was just tough. I got to a really really low point. And I thought about suicide. And I decided I was gonna go buy a bottle of booze, turn on the propane stove, and I was gonna drink that booze until I'm passed out. And if I woke up, I was gonna light a cigarette and I was gonna blow us all up. And I looked at my two sweet little trusting dogs, my Cocker Spaniel and my little Toy Poodle. And I... I just couldn't do that to them. And I thought, well, I can't do that to me either. So I was getting close to 62 and I went online to look at my social security benefits. It said $550. Fern, I have worked my whole life. I've worked since I was 12 years old. Raised two daughters. I couldn't believe it. So I'm online and I find Bob Wells' cheap RV living. I could live in a RV. Travel. And not have to work for the rest of my life.
- I'm gonna be 75 this year. I think I've lived a pretty good life. I've seen some really neat things kayaking all of those places. And... You know, like a moose in the wild. A moose family on the river in Idaho and big white pelicans landed just six feet over my kayak on a lake in Colorado. Or... Come around a bin, was a cliff and find hundreds and hundreds of swallow nests on the wall of the cliff. And the swallows flying all around and reflecting in the water. So it looks like I'm flying with the swallows and they're under me, and over me, and all around me. And little babies are hatching out, and eggshells are falling out of the nest, landing on the water and floating on the water. These little white shells. That was like, it's just so awesome. I felt like I've done enough. My life was complete. If I died right then, at that moment, would be perfectly fine.
- One of the things I love most about this life is that there's no final goodbye. You know, I've met hundreds of people out here and I don't ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, "I'll see you down the road." And I do. And whether it's a month, or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again.
- I think of an analogy as a work horse. The work horse that is willing to work itself to death, and then be put out to pasture. And that's what happens to so many of us. If society was throwing us away and sending us as the work horse out to the pasture, we work horses have to gather together and take care of each other. And that's what this is all about. The way I see it is that the Titanic is sinking and economic times are changing. And so my goal is to get the lifeboats out and get as many people into the lifeboats as I can.
- You know, I think that what the nomads are doing is not that different than what the pioneers did. I think Fern's part of an American tradition.
- Merle: I worked for corporate America, you know, for 20 years. My friend Bill worked for the same company. And... He had liver failure. A week before he was due to retire, HR called him in hospice and said, you know, let's talk about your retirement. And he died 10 days later, having never been able to take that sailboat that he bought out of his driveway. And he missed out on everything. Then he told me before he died, just don't waste any time, girl. Don't waste any time. So I retired as soon as I could. I didn't want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died. So... yeah. And it's not. My sailboat is out here in the desert.
- Makenzie: My mom says that you're homeless, is that true?
- Fern: No, I'm not homeless. I'm just house-less. Not the same thing, right?
- Dolly: You know, when you were growing up, you were eccentric to other people. You maybe seemed weird, but it was just because you were braver and more honest than everybody else. And you could see me when I was hiding from everybody. And sometimes you could see me before I saw myself. I needed that in my life. And you are my sister. I would have loved having you around all these years. You left a big hole by leaving.
- Fern: That one's on me.
- Fern: I've been thinking a lot about my husband, Bo. When it got really bad at the end, they had him in the hospital on morphine drippin'. I was sitting there at night in the hospital. And... I'd wanna put my thumb down on that morphine drip just a little bit longer. So I could let him go. Maybe I should've tried harder. So he could've gone sooner without all that pain.
- Swankie: Maybe he wouldn't have wanted that. Maybe he was trying to stay with you as long as he could. I'm sure you took good care of him, Fern.
- Fern: I did.
- Carol: I see that you have this ring. Are you married?
- Fern: I am, but my husband died.
- Carol: And so...
- Fern: I'm not gonna take that off.
- Carol: That ring is a circle and it never ends. And that means that your love never ends. And you may not be able to take it off, if you tried.
- Fern: I don't think I can.
- Dave: Hey, find anything?
- Fern: ROCKS!
- Frances McDormand - Fern
- David Strathairn - Dave
- Linda May - Linda May
- Charlene Swankie - Swankie
- Bob Wells - Himself
- Derek Endres - Derek
- Peter Spears - Peter
- Tay Strathairn - James