Director Alexander Payne’s Nebraska is a real sleeper, meaning it put me to sleep for a while as it developed at a snail’s pace.
Once it did develop, however, and, thanks to actress June Squibb, who plays the wife of main character Woody Grant (Bruce Dern), who, erroneously, believes he has won a million dollars in the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, the film takes off and has many pleasurable moments and lines.
The real protagonist is not the befuddled senior Grant, but his son David (Will Forte), who decides to humor his father by taking him from his home in Billings, Montana to the Clearing House’s offices in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s a possible chance to bond and understand his father before dementia makes it impossible.
Dern gives an excellent portrayal of a man trying to make some meaning of his life and Squibb should gain a Supporting Actress nomination for her role.
The sweet ending makes the initial ennui worthwhile. I give Nebraska a 3+ out of 5 for the fine performances.