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Robert Levin’s “Nebraska” Is a Short, Unsatisfying Walk

In response to Robert Levin’s 271‑word review of Nebraska on amNewYork

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Robert Levin offers a surprisingly contrarian stance in his review “Movie review: ‘Nebraska‘—3 stars.” It’s not contrarian in the sense that Levin didn’t like this overwhelmingly lauded film. Where many critics have been up in arms (some have been downright hysterical) over Alexander Payne’s treatment of Midwesterners, Levin praises Payne here for not falling into the trap of stereotyping folks from the heartland.

This is a well-written piece, and Levin’s expository skills are on full display here, but it’s much too short-lived to settle into any satisfying critique.

Levin moves from his aforementioned open about Midwesterners and into three paragraphs of plot recapping, which he does sprinkle with a few lines of analysis, but which ultimately takes up too much space in an already sparse review.

When he does get to the meat of the critique, it’s mostly superficial or meaningless: “It’s Woody and David’s story, but it could be our own.” There’s no real discussion of the actors’ performances except for calling Bruce Dern a “surefire awards contender.”

Even his straightforward critiques only brush up against genuine criticism: “Through stark close-ups and small revelations, the movie unpacks the puzzle.”

Undersized in both length and content, this one is better left unread.    

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