Grade • B+
DVD • In the black-and-white comedy-drama “Nebraska,” director Alexander Payne uses the spare, flat landscapes of his title state to get to the heart of a troubled father-son relationship.
Irascible alcoholic Woody (Bruce Dern) is convinced he’s won a million-dollar sweepstakes, and out of guilt his son David (Will Forte) drives the old man from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln, Neb., to claim the prize.
On the way, Woody, David and Woody’s tart-tongued wife, Kate (June Squibb), visit Woody’s old hometown, where relatives and old friends all want a piece of the loot.
Payne shows considerable empathy for the main characters in Bob Nelson’s subtle script and gives Dern a career-capping role as the gruff but hopeful Woody.