In England · In Omaha · Wanderings

Nebraska

I took myself to the movies this weekend.

It’s not something I’m in the habit of doing. In fact, I can’t recall ever going to the movies alone. I am sure, though, that my last trip to the cinema was to see Les Miserables when I was approximately 9 months pregnant; or, about a year ago.

I saw a listing for Nebraska in the Picturehouse newsletter, which I rarely briefly peruse before deleting from my inbox. A sleepy spot in my brain blinked. NEBRASKA, where I lived for 6 years before moving to England. Where I watched beautiful movies with a friend at Film Streams.ย Suddenly I felt duty-bound to see Alexander Payne’s latest film, being an ex-Omahan and one-time Film Streams member. I had to go. It was time to get out.

So Sunday afternoon during the baby’s nap, I drove myself to town, picked up a double espresso and bought a ticket for one. I started to feel awake.

Then something surprising happened (as I reclined in my very comfortable seat). I felt at home. The interstate signs, wide roads, strip malls… the imagery was so undeniably American. The Grant’s post-war home. The Hawthorne watering holes. The people. Their clothes. The family. The conversations. I was completely and utterly floored at how familiar it all felt. Then I felt a strange smugness at being THE ONE in the theater in this market town in the east of England who had ever (probably) been to this place. Who had that great aunt, who’s reminded of someone by the cousins, whose memory echoes the niceties exchanged when extended midwestern families gather. I’ve BEEN to the home a/v store where Will Forte’s character, David, works. I’ve had a beer at that corner tavern, to the restaurant with the salad bar and karaoke.

It was just so spot on.

I’m no film critic, and this post isn’t a review. All I can tell you is that I really think I loved this film. It was beautiful. It was funny. It was moving. It said so much about an America that millions have no idea exists.

Have you had a chance to see it? Was it familiar to you, too?

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