Nebraska 2013

Critics score:
91 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: There's little heart in Payne's heartland. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: A whimsical minor addition to the Payne canon. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The movie is a triumph of an especially satisfying kind. It arrives at a kind of gnarled grace that's true to this sorry old man and the family he let down in so many ways. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: "Nebraska'' has enough good lines, scenes and performances to make it worth your while, as well as a sufficiently upbeat ending to qualify it as holiday entertainment. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Mr. Nelson's observant, detailed script flawlessly captures the mood of what American ennui has done to both old and young men on their way to becoming losers, lending a look and feel that seems like the Great Depression. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: By the metrics of the heart, "Nebraska" is as big as it is beautiful. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: It has moments of uncanny grace, made all the more beautiful by their dryness: a family, briefly, pulling together; a son suddenly understanding his father's dream; a tiny moment, at the end, of unexpected triumph. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: A wistful ode to small-town Midwestern life and the quixotic dreams of stubborn old men. Read more

Mike D'Angelo, AV Club: All I can tell you for certain is that Nebraska got to me. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: As an ode to fading small towns, and to the state its director once called home, it feels downright disingenuous. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Just trust this: see it. You'll be treated to some laugh-out-loud humor, a lot of heart and some outstanding performances. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A desolate comedy-drama about fathers, sons, life's highways and missed off-ramps. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: It's ideal material for Alexander Payne, a director with great affection for the interstate. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Payne, shooting in widescreen black and white with cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, elevates the material with images, simply composed, of serious and paradoxically ordinary beauty. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Payne shows a great deal of affection for these ornery, not always so soft-spoken Midwesterners, but he also demonstrates a fair amount of disaffection, too. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Nebraska is the work of a great director hitting his stride. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: In a career-refining performance, Bruce Dern gives us a character in Woody Grant who's hardened by booze, hard to like and -- if his bad-dad tendencies don't cut too close to your bone -- pretty durn amusing. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "Nebraska," it turns out, isn't as bleak as it first looks. Read more

Jordan Hoffman, Nebraska has much merit, but for Payne it is a little underwhelming. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: The deft achievement of this movie is that it has a hardness that doesn't delight in the meanness of mockery as the Coens often do. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: A bittersweet father-son road trip through an emotionally economically parched homeland. Read more

Jessica Herndon, Associated Press: The performances are what truly accentuate this narrative. Forte carries off every complex quirk, while seasoned actor Dern is uncharacteristically subdued. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Summations can't convey the filmmaking delicacy that marries tart-tongued comedy with unexpected warmth in a story that touches on family, memory, getting old and staying alive. Read more

Amy Nicholson, L.A. Weekly: Takes the heartland - a stretch of America that Hollywood flatters as the place where Reese Witherspoon can find herself - and strips the Norman Rockwell off it like cheap aluminum siding. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Payne remains a deeply humanist filmmaker: He loves people no matter their flaws, and he once again conveys that sympathy through a beautiful, haunting film that initially feels slight but grows large in your memory. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: I said that Alexander Payne makes no mistakes, and that is true here. This is a road picture, but beautifully self-contained and sure-footed. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "Nebraska" bears Payne's trademark combination of low-key humor, poignancy and an overall feeling of Beckett-esque resignation. Read more

Richard Brody, New Yorker: Nebraska captures the same sort of dislocation [as Paris, Je T'aime, but] on a grander scale, overlaying it with relocation-a series of mild or intense shocks arising from Woody's return to his long-abandoned home town in Nebraska... Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Although Payne has never been a flashy director - he's one of the few modern filmmakers who regularly, publicly puts script and performance first - there are so many lovely, visual moments in this film, shot in wide-screen black-and-white. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: Woody Grant could have stepped straight out of Grant Wood's painting American Gothic. His story, too: crusty old coot from a dying farm town, looking for Meaning at the end of a life that may not have had one. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: As in "About Schmidt" and "Sideways," Payne - an Oscar winner for the script of "The Descendants" - finds poetry in everyday, lower-middle-class folks. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Hard times are part of the picture, and so are hard people. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: Alexander Payne has crafted an ornery American comedy with a brusque Midwestern edge and a core of authentic feeling. It provokes wise, wary laughter even as it makes you choke back tears. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: The pain and hope and sense of loss are all there in Dern's eyes, in Woody's stolid willfulness, his shaky gait. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Sad? At times. But also very, very funny in other instances. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Haunting middle America masterpiece! Read more

Christy Lemire, Dern makes Woody as cantankerous as he is clueless, bobbing and weaving to avoid his inevitable mortality, but there's a purity about him that'll break your heart. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Is Nebraska a comedy or a drama? Like life, it's both. Payne takes his time. Deal with it. This is a movie to bring home and live with, to kick around in your head after it hits you in the heart. It's damn near perfect, starting with the acting. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Nebraska" is a ruthless social satire that proves Payne hasn't lost his misanthropic edge after going gentle with "The Descendants." Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: There's no lying or condescending from this director. "Nebraska" feels pure. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: With stunning black-and-white cinematography by Phedon Papamichael and a wistful fiddle score by Mark Orton, its contemplative pace feels just right. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Nebraska" is a wonderful comedy shot in black-and-white and told in shades of gray. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: One of the best films of the year ... Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: There's a poignant suggestion of a modern-day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and it works in a thoughtfully wrought film that feels more built to last than Payne's last feature, The Descendants. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Payne has never before been this melancholy, or this sincere. Nebraska looks into America's soul and finds a troubling emptiness. Read more

Todd Gilchrist, TheWrap: Alternately a poetic tale of personal affirmation and a plainspoken metaphor for tenacity in the face of meager hope, "Nebraska" is not just a beautiful or great film but an essential one for our time. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: An intimate road movie about one family that also lingers on the landscapes and fabric of an old-time, dying vision of the American Midwest Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: A rank exercise in hicksploitation sentimentalism. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Nebraska is a film of raw beauty and great humanity. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: [Payne has] made an "American Gothic" for 21st-century, post-recession America. Who needs a pitchfork anyway, when you can have an ice cold bottle of Bud? Read more