'Nebraska' Is a Gentle and Funny Film

'The message is that nobody can trust anybody,' says Peter Travers

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Awards season is in full swing, and Peter Travers doesn't hesitate to call Nebraska one of the year's best films. Just don't let the black and white scare you – as star Bruce Dern told Travers, "Have you ever been to Nebraska? It is in black and white!"

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In the movie, Dern, 77, plays Woody Grant, a spacey veteran who receives a letter telling him he's won a million dollars via a fake sweepstakes. Despite protests from his wife, Kate (June Squibb) and son, David (Will Forte), Grant decides to leave his Montana home and set out for his big prize in the cornhusker state. "It's like a Don Quixote story," says Travers. "This is a guy who believes what people tell him. And the message that's in this movie is that nobody can trust anybody – nobody can believe what happens."

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Written by newcomer Bob Nelson and directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants), Travers calls Nebraska a gentle, funny and sorrowful film that's easy to sink into. "Alexander Payne. . . knows what he's doing behind a camera," Travers raves. "So if Alexander Payne wants to show you a movie in black and white, go follow him."

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