The American Dream has long been a popular subject in movies, and these three recent movies depict it in a way that most Americans will recognize.
Since Citizen Kane to The social network, Hollywood has long been fascinated by the American Dream and those who pursue it. Often times, these stories from poverty to wealth follow leaders on their upward but unfortunate trajectories. They warn of arrogance, but they don’t really talk about the opportunities and obstacles that most Americans face. Three highly recommended movies from last year change that. By getting small and personal, these acclaimed and award-winning films, all available to local audiences, redefine what it means to try to make it big in America.
The title of Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is as funny as it is descriptive of the plot. First cow takes place in 1820 (the same time as Bridgerton, coincidentally) when life in what was then called the Oregon Country was so tough, food itself was a luxury. “Cookie” makes a living collecting groceries for a group of fur hunters when he meets Lu, a Chinese fugitive who has built a hut in the forest. They quickly become friends and decide to do business together. Cookie has a plan to sell fried dough, but they need milk, which isn’t available until the rich Englishman who rules the territory imports a single cow.
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With no connections or resources, Cookie and Lu plan to steal enough milk straight from the source to make their oily cakes. In the largely ungoverned Northwest, theft is risky and the business becomes even more dangerous as demand for oily cakes increases. First cow It doesn’t fit neatly into either genre, nor does its minimalist allegory of capitalism suggest an easy solution. The film is both gentle but unwavering about what it takes to survive and wanting to do more than survive. First cow airs on Showtime and Showtime compatible apps and is available for purchase on most platforms.
Many Americans dream of traveling around the country in a motor home; Few expect to actually live in one, doing low-paying transitional work. But this is exactly how a growing number of Americans (especially older people) cope, and their stories are the inspiration for Chloé Zhao’s. Nomadland, which features a cast of mostly real-life nomads. The film’s main fictional character, Fern, is dealing with the loss of her husband, her income, and her community after a factory closure forces her to hit the road. He finds a new community in the nomads, who offer him strength and support.
The underlying message of the film is that multinational corporations have destroyed the small towns and families that used to call them home, but Nomadland just spend as much time as absolutely necessary on these issues. The focus is on the people. Your circumstances may be unfair and out of your control, but your generous and persistent spirit endures. Nomadland is streaming on Hulu.
By Lee Isaac Chung Threatening it is perhaps the most realistic movie about the American dream ever made. Jacob and Monica went from Korea to California and from California to Arkansas. They have two children, including a son with health problems and conflicting ideas about what is best for his family. Both parents work in poultry processing sexing chicks all day, but, dissatisfied and unhappy with the low pay, Jacob buys an undeveloped farm at great financial risk. He estimates that it will still take three years of looking at “chicken butts” plus unpaid farm work before they turn a profit. Monica doesn’t really agree, even when Jacob invites his mother to live with them.
What follows is a moving story about vision, hard work, and perseverance, without a layer of sugar. Threatening it is as much about family as it is about entrepreneurship, and is brutally honest about the difficulties inherent in work and family life. It is likely to resonate with immigrants on an additional level, but they will all relate Minari very specific moments of success, failure, and everything in between. Threatening it is available as a PVOD rental on most platforms and is shown in select theaters.
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