NOMADLAND could hardly have asked for a better lead in for its UK release than the one gifted it. Just five days prior to landing on Disney Plus, the Chloé Zhao dramatisation scooped three Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Not satisfied with simply taking home the top gong - Best Picture - Nomadland saw history made, with Zhao becoming the first woman of colour to win Best Director in the century-old competition’s history.

After Kathryn Bigelow, the Beijing born director remains only the second woman to win the award. Bravo to that.

The film’s leading star too came home prize in hand. Her fourth in total. In Nomadland, Frances McDormand plays Fern. As was with so many in the fall out of 2007’s financial crash, Fern loses her job as the film opens. This follows the loss of her husband, with whom she worked for many years. Stranded, unemployed in Nevada, Fern sells up, packs up, and sets off in pursuit of new opportunities.

Nomadland is based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fictional account of the transient lifestyle adopted by many older Americans in the wake of the Great Recession: Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century. Fern is fictional but embodies many a true story. Indeed, watch out for roles in the film played by real-life Nomads: Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells.

Moving on from her old life, Fern works first for Amazon, as a seasonal employee, before transitioning through jobs in camping and sugar beet processing. The folk she encounters teach her the ways of this new world and Zhao guides her from a place of naivety to survivalism. The progression is never less than wholly engrossing.

Much like her rather wonderful film The Rider before it, Nomadland sees Zhao revel in breathing space. Nothing is rushed, little is pressing, everything hits home. McDormand is, of course, exceptional. One expects no less.

There’s a lovely little score from Ludovico Einaudi - whose music can regularly be heard playing through this writer’s own smart speaker - and Zhao’s faith in regular collaborator Joshua James Richards pays off, in regard to the cinematography.

Some have criticised the film for its failure to critique the Amazon model. There’s no doubt that Bruder’s book is more discerning when discussing the online superstore’s treatment of workers. It’s a fair cop in an otherwise flawless feature.