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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Rider

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video / Film & TV

Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand, is being hailed as a major Oscar contender after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival—the first film ever to take the top prize at both. From writer-director Chloé Zhao, the movie, and all the buzz around it, reminded me of her last work, a favorite of mine (and Barack Obama’s), The Rider. Far from a conventional cowboy adventure, it stars Brady Jandreau, a real-life rodeo star, as a young bronco rider coming to terms with his life after a head injury he sustains in a fall. Described by the director as about half real, half exaggerated, the film uses first-time actors to play versions of themselves. It received less fanfare than Zhao’s latest release but was critically acclaimed, and for good reason: it’s smartly told and moving, and is a must-watch for anyone interested in Zhao’s work. —Bridget Arsenault

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