A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A father and son become much closer to one another during a road trip, talking about their feelings for the first time and opening up more easily. This also leads to some occasional violent and/or illegal behavior, but nothing serious or unforgivable.
Positive Role Models
These characters are about as ordinary as you can get. Their problems and hang-ups are nothing unusual, and their achievements come to nothing more than finding a better connection between a father and son. They're not exactly bad people, but neither are they particularly heroic or inspiring. (The father may be an alcoholic; his family claims that he is, but he claims he's not.)
Violence & Scariness
David gets into a bar fight, punching an older man. The father and son are jumped by two hooded, masked characters in an alley. Woody cuts his head open and some blood is shown. (He goes to the hospital for stitches.) There's also some arguing and threats.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters talk about sex, sometimes in fairly open, graphic ways (intended as humor). For example, the elderly mother character talks casually about her former lovers and -- in one scene -- lifts up her dress (her back to the camera) to show the grave of a dead boyfriend "what he missed out on." She uses phrases like "he wanted in my pants." No nudity is shown, and no sexual situations occur.
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"S--t" is used fairly frequently, and "f--k" is used at least once. "Bitch," "c--ksucker," "t-ts," "damn," "whore," "slut," "moron," "sumbitch," "screwing," "Goddamn" and "Jesus Christ" are also used.
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Products & Purchases
Various signs and billboards are often seen while the characters are on the road, and various brands are shown in bars and in kitchens. They include Pepsi, Goodyear, Land-o-Lakes, and Craftsman. In a bar characters order Coors, Mountain Dew and Bud. A character works in an audio shop, and signs for Bose and Sony are visible. Onkyo is mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The father may be an alcoholic. Others claim that he is, but he denies it. (He says that beer doesn't count.) He drinks a great deal of beer over the course of the movie, and is drunk a few times. The son does not drink but changes his mind and drinks beer with his dad in a bar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nebraska is a bittersweet character-based drama telling the story of a grown son and his father reconnecting while on a road trip. Language includes several uses of "s--t, "at least one "f--k," plus lots of other strong or coarse language. Alcoholism is a potential concern: the father is said to be an alcoholic, but he denies it, claiming that he only drinks beer. (He consumes a great deal of beer during the movie, and is drunk once or twice.) The main character sustains a head injury and goes to the hospital for stitches (some blood is shown). There's a quick bar fight and a quick mugging in a dark alley, with no real consequences. Older characters sometimes discuss sex, somewhat graphically, but with humorous intent. Though viewers younger than 15 may not be interested in this downbeat film, older teens and their parents should enjoy this. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With NEBRASKA, director Alexander Payne has taken a combination father-son bonding story-road movie and made it feel entirely fresh. This is partly because of his choice to shoot in moody black-and-white, and partly because of his unusual and spot-on casting choices of veteran character actor Bruce Dern and Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte. But mostly it's because of the delicate, lovely, bittersweet tone he conjures up and sustains throughout the entire movie. This movie is patient but not slow, sad but funny, and downbeat but hopeful. Some of the movie's small towners may come across as caricatures, though the movie shows no sign of ridicule or malice. Like Fargo, whatever cartoonish tendencies the characters show, they're always rooted in real, recognizable behavior. But since these characters are not exactly verbose or eloquent, the miracle is how much actually comes across in these minimalist performances. It's a wonderfully moving and satisfying experience.
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