Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 12, 2013
    60
    If the overall effect of Nebraska’s father-son bonding and attention-must-be-paid pathos doesn’t quite have the zing of the filmmaker’s best work, he’s certainly got an ace in the hole.
  2. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Nov 13, 2013
    58
    Payne, who never met pathos he didn’t feel inclined to puncture with slapstick humor, has somehow made his best drama and his worst comedy rolled into one.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 250 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 63
  2. Negative: 5 out of 63
  1. Jan 30, 2014
    10
    This is the best movie I have ever seen. I am 59.
    That means there's a **** of other crap you
    can pretty much skip over and go straight to
    This is the best movie I have ever seen. I am 59.
    That means there's a **** of other crap you
    can pretty much skip over and go straight to
    this film if you would like to know what comprises
    a really good one. A few scenes reminded me
    of The Last Picture Show. The ruins of the small
    town, the sparseness, the hopelessness...
    This is a film and all other so-called-films are
    nothing but movies in comparison. In the same
    way that 'West Side Story' is a musical and all
    other attempts at musicals are school plays with
    songs tossed in. If you miss seeing this film at
    a large screen you have missed the film. It simply
    won't translate to a television or any smaller screen
    very well sadly. Bruce Dern deserves the Oscar, the Wiener
    and the Schnitzel. No one else is even in in his hemisphere.
    Well, you could give it Bob Redford for 'All is Lost' but that's
    not gonna happen either. Both absolute masterpieces, both
    absolutely looked over. Just a glance to his son in the truck
    Full Review »
  2. Nov 15, 2013
    8
    Director Alexander Payne "Sideways" (2004) and "About Schmidt" (2002) deftly handles the road-movie plot structure once again with dark humorDirector Alexander Payne "Sideways" (2004) and "About Schmidt" (2002) deftly handles the road-movie plot structure once again with dark humor and satirical depictions of contemporary American society, yielding fantastic results yet again, as a heartfelt journey to examine his frail and flawed characters. Payne himself is a Nebraska native who felt strongly that the movie be filmed black and white to capture the mood of the old American heartland, and in order for the film to receive funding from Paramount, he had to settle for a smaller budget. As a result, Payne films and casts the movie in local communities with actual residents which provides a realistic texture to the family bonding tale. "Nebraska” is a humorous and heart-rendering story of family, but it also sheds a light onto the people of America's heartland, and our countries economic, moral, and cultural decline.

    "Nebraska" starts as a road movie, with a father and son traveling from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska. David (Will Forte) has decided to indulge his father Woody (Bruce Dern), who is struggling with dementia and thinks that he can pick up his $1 million in winnings from a magazine distributor in Lincoln. En route, they stop for the weekend in Hawthorne, Dern’s hometown, where they're joined by his wife (June Squibb), and his other son (Bob Odenkirk) amidst your stereotypical Midwestern relatives and friends, all of whom are extremely interested to learn that there’s now a millionaire before them.

    The central relationship between Dern’s stubbornly gullible dad and Forte’s passively irritated son gradually deepens as the movie makes its way through middle America. What makes the film such a delight to watch are the individuality of its characters. Each one is fun to watch in their own right; the father’s relentless determination, the mother’s humorous outbursts, and the son’s sympathy and desire to bond with his father. "Nebraska" reaches an emotional conclusion that echoes of "About Schmidt" and "The Descendants" (2011) with an underlying sense of lives largely squandered, but handled with grace and finesse that feels innately genuine. "Nebraska" is another finely tuned, superior slice of cinema crafted by Alexander Payne who achieves a more mature, sentimental tone than previous films. The all-around marvelous performances from the cast and supporting non-professional actors add an unmistakable authenticity to this slice of Americana.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 2, 2014
    3
    I am a pretty sophisticated filmgoer... with a high capacity for quiet art films, but this roundly-lauded movie completely stumped me. II am a pretty sophisticated filmgoer... with a high capacity for quiet art films, but this roundly-lauded movie completely stumped me. I agree that Bruce Dern gives a consistent and compelling performance as a disgruntled, confused old codger on his peculiar quest. However, many long stretches of this film (especially the first third) barely rise above the level of a student video project: the acting rings amateurish, the dialogue is stiff with huge pauses/holes in the realistic reaction times of the characters (bad directing and editing there) and so many "atmospheric shots" of rusting cars or unpainted barns or abandoned main streets or weedy junky fields, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum one feels hammered over the head by the black and white BLEAKNESS point the director wants to make. Every scene transition has half a dozen of these "get it?!" shots--it's rather maddening. There are two scenes in the whole move that SAVE the film: the compressor theft mishap and the final drive through town--both of which deliver the 'feel good' sentiment of the film. But they are NOT enough to be rating this rather poorly written and sloppily directed bleakfest an '89' on metacritic. I am rather dismayed by such applause for shoddy work by this director (he's capable of much better.) Full Review »