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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.

Fan Reviews provided by


Nebraska by 56awalker
I have not been to a movie in 20 years. Got free tickets took my wife. This is a really good movie. It could not be any closer to what million of people go threw every day. It also has sad and happy emotions. Great acting on everyone's part. Yes I would recommend this movie


Nebraska by mrs4401
This movie is for the over 50 crowd . I enjoyed the way the Son showed his love for his father and how the brothers worked together to care for both parents. I thought the film was a real slice of life for today's world. Unemployment and the end of the family farms has devasted our mid-west and yet these people carry on. It was real and I did cry as well as laugh. It was a real love story in the end the Mother showed her love for the Father by brushing his hair how often did I see my Mother do this same thing to my Father when he was Ill.The Mother stepping in to protect her sons from the brute cousins (who possibly if they had jobs would not have been this way.) But due to their financial problems they were overcome by greed.


Nebraska - Loved this Movie by ddisbro8139
This move was so well done at so many levels. The casting was superb, the story was poignant and the setting was beautiful. Left me wondering about what happened next and thinking about family. WOW


Beyond Boring by lori2430
I had high hopes for this movie and am streaming it as I type this only because my fiancee refuses to not finish a movie he's started. If he weren't here, I'd shut it off. I don't need an action film, but something has to happen. Something. Anything.


Dern it, go see him! by Ognadnaf21
Yes, it's about the delusions of a geezer, yes his spouse is definitely an elderly shrew, and yes the black and white of Nebraska is certainly those are reasons to go see this surprising masterpiece. You'd never think a dull dreary topic like Nebraska and an old man's dream of a winning lottery ticket would be the stuff Oscars are made of, but as sure as the sun rises in the morning (even in Nebraska) this coot flick will win any number of Academy Awards...


Nebraska by dc8857
Shot in beautiful B&W, Bruce Dern stars as old, lost man (Woody) with a wife, June Squibb, who has to deal with his dementia. He wants to collect his winning of $1M. In Nebraska - he's in Billings, Montana. And intents to walk all way to Nebraska. But he is stopped by Will Forte, as the son, who begrudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings. Directed & written by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants), he has an eye for honesty, quirky and poignant films. Also, co-starring Stacy Keach as old pal and familiar faces come out of the woodwork to claim their fair share of the prize. Highly entertaining, a study in character development and subtly funny. Go see it!


Nebraska by jeankaelin
Great film Did justice to characters and land by shooting in B/W. Well cast. Only issue is that growing up there and knowing folks, the mother would have never said "***&^". I doubt that she would have done the graveyard scene either. Otherwise, these charactoers are as real as they get.


Great character study by douglasbrentsmith
Nebraska may catch you by surprise. It shows in many ways some ugly sides of America and some scarred places in people. But it also shows resilience, patience, and love in strong and surprising ways. We need to make more movies like this -- well written, well acted, and no guns. Amazing performances from each and every character in the cast.


Nebraska by Brassy71
Was leery of it when I heard it was totally in black and white. Talked hubby into seeing it because I was impressed by it getting 4 stars and having an 84 year old nominated for an oscar. While it seemed slow at the start, it totally sucked us in. I laughed, sniffled, and pondered........then tried to hold it together until we got into the car. The emotions it stirred inside of me will not soon be forgotten. Life is full of stuff....everyone handles it differently!


A sad but telling depiction of aging by paladino500
This isn't a feel-good movie but I loved it because it's truthful. It's not for kids but for anyone who is of a certain age it offers glimpses into aging can be either depressing if you've lost hope -- or it offers a cautionary tale of how important it is to plan for a happy and productive old age. Acting, directing and cinematography is first rate.