Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Nebraska Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Fifty shades of old and gray. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career as the headstrong Woody in the brilliant, wisely observed and wryly funny Nebraska. What stands out is the fullness of the character, with mannerisms and expressions that make him wholly dimensional.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Shot in beautiful tones of black and white (and silver and gray), Nebraska is steeped in nostalgia, regret and bittersweet moments. Yet it’s also a pitch-perfect cinematic poem about the times we live in.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    What's extraordinary is what happens at the intersection of Mr. Payne's impeccable direction and Mr. Nelson's brilliant script. The odyssey combines, quite effortlessly, prickly combat between father and son.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    [A] wryly poignant and potent comic drama about the bereft state of things in America’s oft-vaunted heartland.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    Throughout, Payne gently infuses the film’s comic tone with strains of longing and regret, always careful to avoid the maudlin or cheaply sentimental.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Nebraska reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Wonderful father-son bonding story with language, drinking.

What 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.

  • Families can talk about the issue of alcoholism. Why doesn't the main character admit to being an alcoholic? Is it true that "beer doesn't count"? How is the viewer supposed to feel about the characters' alcohol use?
  • Does the movie make fun of small town characters? Are they caricatures or stereotypes? Do they remind you of your own family members, or are they pure fictional creations?
  • What makes a character like Woody -- non-verbal, grumpy, stubborn -- so interesting?
  • How does black-and-white cinematography change the way the movie looks and feels? Would you have preferred it to be in color?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: 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.

  • rolemodels true0

    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.)

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: 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.

  • sex false2

    Sex: 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.

  • language false4

    Language: "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.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: 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.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and 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.