User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 249 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 249
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  1. Dec 22, 2013
    7
    Bruce Dern plays a befuddled old man, who sets out to walk from Billings to Lincoln to claim the million dollars he thinks he won. After a few failed starts, his son (Will Forte being serious) decides to take him. This examination of aging and restrained relationships is directed by Alexander Payne with deadpan delivery and lovely black and white cinematography. It's one of those quietlyBruce Dern plays a befuddled old man, who sets out to walk from Billings to Lincoln to claim the million dollars he thinks he won. After a few failed starts, his son (Will Forte being serious) decides to take him. This examination of aging and restrained relationships is directed by Alexander Payne with deadpan delivery and lovely black and white cinematography. It's one of those quietly observed indies with tapped down emotions and humor that's usually underplayed (except June Squibb as his amusingly feisty wife). The filmmaking is as reserved as the characters: no grand emotions or splashy performances, just a quietly sweet cinematic journey. Expand
  2. Dec 1, 2013
    9
    Alexander Payne parodies modern attempts at nostalgia, and in doing do, creates an artistic realm within the characters and plot. Bruce Dern's lead performance as the silent, senile, and overly-determined drunkard has an enigmatic eloquence, that gives us a chance to look further into his previous life and question it, something his son, David, who's managed to keep calm and logical, triesAlexander Payne parodies modern attempts at nostalgia, and in doing do, creates an artistic realm within the characters and plot. Bruce Dern's lead performance as the silent, senile, and overly-determined drunkard has an enigmatic eloquence, that gives us a chance to look further into his previous life and question it, something his son, David, who's managed to keep calm and logical, tries to accomplish. At the beginning its black-and-white, but then you see the color of Woody and his past. June Squibb is the main source of comedy, which is a surprise being that she's over 80 and has never had such a large role prior to 'Nebraska'. This movie is to remind us of old America, and that some still hold on to it. Expand
  3. Jan 9, 2014
    9
    A lot of great films this year are creating greatness with less. Definitely a great year for dramatic, character driven filmmaking driven by great writing.
  4. Nov 16, 2013
    8
    Incredibly nostalgic and full of affection (aided by its superb cinematography), Alexander Payne supplies a sweet fable with a powerful performance from Bruce Dern.
  5. Jan 6, 2014
    9
    Nebraska is a slow, meandering quirky film that will appeal to anyone who likes that style of film. I like the decision to film in Black and White which adds to the ambiance. Although Bruce Dern will get a lot of attention for his portrayal of Woody, Will Forte is the glue that holds this film together. His portrayal of as Woody's son David is pitch perfect as someone who at first feelsNebraska is a slow, meandering quirky film that will appeal to anyone who likes that style of film. I like the decision to film in Black and White which adds to the ambiance. Although Bruce Dern will get a lot of attention for his portrayal of Woody, Will Forte is the glue that holds this film together. His portrayal of as Woody's son David is pitch perfect as someone who at first feels distant from his father, only to grow closer to him as he gets to know him (mostly through other people) on their road trip together. Then there is June Squibb as David's mother, who is the source of most of the humor in the movie. In fact, two of her scenes are the funniest moments I saw in any movie this year she's a hoot! Expand
  6. Nov 17, 2013
    9
    Alexander Payne creates a film about the passage of time, parent-child relationship, looking for a different purpose and apparent madness, as he does not abuse thoughtful and dramatic scenes that provoke in the viewer a regret about your life, what is good for he can do it without doing it, and adding a good laugh, with an aesthetic that I greatly appreciate the films Black and white aloneAlexander Payne creates a film about the passage of time, parent-child relationship, looking for a different purpose and apparent madness, as he does not abuse thoughtful and dramatic scenes that provoke in the viewer a regret about your life, what is good for he can do it without doing it, and adding a good laugh, with an aesthetic that I greatly appreciate the films Black and white alone already cause some sensation, which is even better with the performance of Bruce Dern (this will likely be indicated and perhaps even winning an Oscar for his age). Expand
  7. Jan 27, 2014
    9
    Nebraska, being the "estranged family film" that August: Osage County tried to be is very well-executed. Many good performances range from Bruce Dern to even Bob Odenkirk. The black and white aspect makes the film seem a little more dark and dramatic, yet the comedy found in the dialogue counterbalances it perfectly.
  8. Mar 7, 2014
    10
    bruce dernis amazing in nebraska as an old man who people doesnt understand . i like bruce dern and will forte and not that **** june squib . but i love the movie including bruce dern
  9. Mar 11, 2014
    10
    Nebraska is a great movie that revives the classic Hollywood cinema. It reflects the social conditions of the elderly and the love and care of a son for his cantankerous father as they lead a journey from Billings to Nebraska.
  10. 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 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
    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
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  11. Nov 15, 2013
    8
    Director 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 blackDirector 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.
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  12. Lyn
    Jan 2, 2014
    9
    Very surprised at how funny this film was! For that, I'll forgive Alexander Payne for portraying people near my old neck of the woods as pretty much clueless and craven. Excellent performances including that of Will Forte, who's the heart of the story as he goes to great lengths to understand his dad. Not really on board with Payne's decision to shoot these striking landscapes in black andVery surprised at how funny this film was! For that, I'll forgive Alexander Payne for portraying people near my old neck of the woods as pretty much clueless and craven. Excellent performances including that of Will Forte, who's the heart of the story as he goes to great lengths to understand his dad. Not really on board with Payne's decision to shoot these striking landscapes in black and white. I guess he's saying that old age AND that part of the country are both gray and dreary but I think we knew that already. Expand
  13. Dec 7, 2013
    9
    I really enjoyed this quirky film, which I know is not for everyone. It is mature, thoughtful and sweet. The acting and tone are perfect. Looking deeply into the lives of these interesting and imperfect people is a rewarding experience.
  14. Feb 11, 2014
    3
    I can't help but feel betrayed by how much this film is overrated! Anything about this film is very bad:
    - It's pretentious! Why would this film need to be in black and white? To help cover the bad acting capabilities of everyone except Bruce Dern. This doubles with long unneeded pauses in dialogues.
    - It's basically a copy of "The Straight Story" (David Linch) in anything that could
    I can't help but feel betrayed by how much this film is overrated! Anything about this film is very bad:
    - It's pretentious! Why would this film need to be in black and white? To help cover the bad acting capabilities of everyone except Bruce Dern. This doubles with long unneeded pauses in dialogues.
    - It's basically a copy of "The Straight Story" (David Linch) in anything that could make it good message-wise.
    - It tries to give you deep feelings not about the story it tells, instead it tries to do this by having you remember something about your own life. How does it do this? It enumerates a number of ordinary disgraces that somehow affect everyone's life (cancer, Alzheimer's, poorness, old love affairs, dead relatives... you get the point).
    - It's filled with poor comedy targeted at 70+ year olds that want to feel young by random curse words and vulgarity.
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  15. 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. 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 videoI 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.) Expand
  16. Feb 28, 2014
    0
    How on earth can this piece of garbage be up for best picture? This was utterly and completely devoid of any redeeming social value! The only reason we watched it to the end was we couldn't believe it could go the entire movie without going anywhere. Pitiful!
  17. Dec 14, 2013
    7
    While certainly being an entertaining and watchable movie it doesn't quite rise to the level of being a good one. The quirky characters seem to often to be caricatures and too often of 2 kind: dumb and mean. It's too much a riff on lower middle rural America, which is fine if it had any depth to it, but only Bruce Dern's son shows us complexity. The laughs are often cheap and at theWhile certainly being an entertaining and watchable movie it doesn't quite rise to the level of being a good one. The quirky characters seem to often to be caricatures and too often of 2 kind: dumb and mean. It's too much a riff on lower middle rural America, which is fine if it had any depth to it, but only Bruce Dern's son shows us complexity. The laughs are often cheap and at the expense of ageism. I'm old and know plenty of people older than me and we're not that easily type cast. Dern does an excellent job as an old coot who has withered with alcohol and the abuse of an acerbic wife, but it's Will Forte's movie as a kind son who still sees worth in his rancorous father, and who is the only one who shows him charity. Lastly why is it that we still have to offer up old women who spew sexual innuendos as humorous? Expand
  18. Feb 19, 2014
    3
    Spoiler Alert:
    If only David would have bought his father the bloody truck and compressor to begin with, we could all have been spared 115 minutes of our lives watching nothing aimless going nowhere. Pity because I had grown fond of Alexander Payne's work as of late.
  19. Dec 31, 2013
    6
    OK, I accept that this is a heart warming story about a road trip and learning about family, caring for family, but can't get past the horrible depiction of Midwesterners as stupid and slow. I'm insulted, and I've lived in LA for 30 years. good performances by all the leads, especially June Squibb.
  20. Dec 13, 2013
    6
    It is fitting that "Nebraska" is filmed in black and white because it is something you would have seen on the small TV screen in the 50s. There is the bleak picture of America's heartland with nary a sign of a teenager and all the citizens are caricatures from Hollywood's pen.

    The few modern touches consist of an old man, possibly suffering dementia, thinking he has won the million
    It is fitting that "Nebraska" is filmed in black and white because it is something you would have seen on the small TV screen in the 50s. There is the bleak picture of America's heartland with nary a sign of a teenager and all the citizens are caricatures from Hollywood's pen.

    The few modern touches consist of an old man, possibly suffering dementia, thinking he has won the million dollar magazine sweepstakes. In their last pictures do you remember Henry Fonda, Cary Grant or Gary Cooper playing 'old' men with mental problems? Another 21st century touch is having an old woman very comfortable with the 'f' word and/or talking about all the men who have wanted her or lifting her skirt to show a dead man what he missed. Can you picture Ethel Barrymore or Claudette Colbert doing either?

    "Nebraska" is basically road trip story between a father and son in order for the father to collect the millions dollars he knows he won and for his younger, of two sons, to get to know him better before it is too late. Bruce Dern plays the father Woody Grant, Will Forte his younger son David, Bob Odenkirk the older son Ross Grant and June Squibb is Kate, their mother and Woody's wife. When driving from their home in Billings, Montana, where Woody and Kate moved to as a young married couple, they stop in Hawthorne, a fictional farming town, where they were born and raised. While here we get to meet other members of the family at a last minute reunion. All the men, including Woody's brother, Ray, (Rance Howard), are the taciturn men of the midwest and their wives having the weathered look of living a hard working life. It is Ray's two overweight sons, played by Tim Driscoll and Devin Ratray who are the more outgoing particularly when they are talking about cars and then Woody's million dollars.

    Woody Grant is an old alcoholic, Korean war veteran who once owned a business with his friend Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach) and hearing he has won the money turns on him as do most of the other folks in Hawthorne, including his family, all wanting a piece of the pie.

    Bruce Dern shines in his passive role markedly different than the many loony roles he has played while Will Forte, having the modern look of the unshaven actor, holds his own in the scenes with Dern but it is June Squibb who steals every scene she is in. After 55 plus years on the stage, TV and in the movies this is her breakout role. She handles the lines, and laughs, of screenplay writer Bob Nelson as if she wrote them. Angela McEwan, as the owner of the town's paper and who once was in love with Woody, also stands out.

    The direction by Alexander Payne as the music by Mark Orton, along with the cinematography, has the black and white feel of Montana and Nebraska.

    "Nebraska" was made for the large theatre screen but having the feel of a 1950s TV movie it would probably be better watching it on television.
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  21. Nov 25, 2013
    5
    As a huge fan of Alexander Payne, this is hard to write. "Nebraska" is NOT "Election" or "Sideways." It's "About Schmidt" but unlike that film, it lacks any reason to care about the characters. There is much to enjoy here, but it is with the smaller characters; unfortunately, Bruce Dern's unpleasant lead performance isn't one of them. He is hurt badly by a script that never let's himAs a huge fan of Alexander Payne, this is hard to write. "Nebraska" is NOT "Election" or "Sideways." It's "About Schmidt" but unlike that film, it lacks any reason to care about the characters. There is much to enjoy here, but it is with the smaller characters; unfortunately, Bruce Dern's unpleasant lead performance isn't one of them. He is hurt badly by a script that never let's him show any warmth or compassion to a single person he is with. And his wife in the film is hampered with mean-spirited lines spit out with an unrelenting meanness this is a film that simply doesn't like the people it is portraying. Every old person is mean or vacant; I understand this is a family "trait", but the unpleasantness is unrelenting. It is simply a movie with a sour taste to it and as a fan of Payne, it was crushing to see. Expand
  22. Dec 15, 2013
    6
    Apart from the occasional insipidity and the almost overwhelmingly intentional dryness throughout, "Nebraska" situates itself nicely within the stunning filmography of Alexander Payne as a well-acted and irresistibly idyllic piece of cinema.
  23. Apr 21, 2014
    5
    A journey of a pointless man's pointless desire, compounded in a pointless city, somehow, bears fruitful results.
    Indeed, "Nebraska" manages to prove a point.
  24. Jan 31, 2014
    4
    i'd love to say that I enjoy enjoyed this movie more, but it was flat boring. I expected more from the director of The Descendants, The Election, and Sideways. Making fun of old people is just not all that adventurous from my perspective. And "ooooh! Small Town people are goofy!" is too easy.
  25. Dec 15, 2013
    6
    This is an interesting yet depressing movie. Should have could have been reduced by 30 minutes easily. Don't get the Black and White Photgraphy...........that area of the country speaks for itself in the winter........bleak. There are situations that didn't make sense. Not the best well-written.
  26. Feb 24, 2014
    5
    A well executed movie but far from the most interesting one. I did enjoy seeing Will Forte try something new and play a more dramatic part and Bruce Dern is flawless. My main problem was I just couldn't get too interested in what was happening, it's a fairly slow movie that never hooked me. As far as the oscar nominations go I would say Bruce Dern deserves it but the entire movie does not.
  27. Mar 20, 2014
    3
    Am I the only one who found this film dragged from start to finish. Filled with patches of fantastic comedic moments between a bland and predictable storyline. Not a fan of the "Artistic black and white either.
  28. May 13, 2014
    7
    A new addition to Alexander Payne's excellent career. I'm a huge fan of "About Schmidt" and "Sideways". This film is also set as a road trip, this time a man with his estranged and confused father, who is insistent on travelling to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect the prize money he thinks he won.

    Like Schmidt and Sideways, this is also a comic look into lost lives and broken dreams. It's
    A new addition to Alexander Payne's excellent career. I'm a huge fan of "About Schmidt" and "Sideways". This film is also set as a road trip, this time a man with his estranged and confused father, who is insistent on travelling to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect the prize money he thinks he won.

    Like Schmidt and Sideways, this is also a comic look into lost lives and broken dreams. It's also about family, and mortality. The performances are more than great, particularly of Bruce Dern, and even more, June Squibb. The characters themselves are greatly interesting, each with his/her own quirks. The script and dialogue are sharp, and so is the directing.

    Perhaps my complaints is the overall quiet mood. While i understand that it's supposed to be so, for it to be an accurate portrayal of life in the small town of the American heartland, i can't say i enjoyed it that much. Also wish if there was more plot and drama, especially since this is a two-hour movie.

    Still, it doesn't take away what a great movie this is. And the closing scene nearly makes up for it. It's a beautiful and funny scene.
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  29. Dec 12, 2014
    9
    Fantastic film. Real and surreal. Funny, sad and moving. Almost like life. Shows portraits of mid Americans without caricature but without compassion. A rare gem with perfect balance between the common excesses of sentimentalism and the stereotypical comedy of characters.
  30. Dec 7, 2013
    9
    "Nebraska" is not a crowd pleaser. This is a movie for a certain audience. Those who know the name of Alexander Paine, who liked such his movies as "Sideways" and "about Schmidt" will love this movie as much as I did.

    Shut in black-and-white, it is deliberately slow to reflect a slow life of American rural country where people are close-mouthed and reserved. Each character is a bit
    "Nebraska" is not a crowd pleaser. This is a movie for a certain audience. Those who know the name of Alexander Paine, who liked such his movies as "Sideways" and "about Schmidt" will love this movie as much as I did.

    Shut in black-and-white, it is deliberately slow to reflect a slow life of American rural country where people are close-mouthed and reserved.
    Each character is a bit grotesque but is so colorful and authentic.
    This movie was a real treat for me. I do not expect any "Best Actor" nominations but I have no doubt there will be a "Best Director" nomination.
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Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 11, 2013
    100
    Not much happens to Woody in Payne's movie, compared to modern penchants for rushed narratives and easily defined characters. Yet patience pays off, with a suitably minor triumph for such an unassuming man. And a major acting triumph for Dern.
  2. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 10, 2013
    100
    Only someone with intimate knowledge of the Midwest’s singular cadences, social codes and confounding emotional stew (er, covered hot dish) of aggression and politesse could pull off something as masterful, meaningful and poetic as Nebraska.
  3. Reviewed by: Philip Kemp
    Dec 9, 2013
    80
    A pitch-perfect performance from Dern graces Alexander Payne’s latest roadmovie – another bittersweet meditation on the sad, comic futility of life.