Inside business

Why Nomadland’s sunny depiction of seasonal work at an Amazon fulfilment centre strikes such a false note

The Oscar-winning film was available to watch in the UK days after a bitter unionisation battle was lost. The company’s use of PR to address criticism of conditions isn’t working, writes James Moore

Monday 03 May 2021 00:51
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<p>Frances McDormand won an Oscar for ‘Nomadland’ but critics have rounded on the way the film portrays Amazon</p>

Frances McDormand won an Oscar for ‘Nomadland’ but critics have rounded on the way the film portrays Amazon

A rare knock on Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s multiple-Oscar-winning exploration of the lives of those forced into a wandering existence on the fringes of American society, concerns its sunny depiction of life at an Amazon fulfilment centre. 

The company’s seasonal work programme is featured a few minutes into the film, which has just dropped on Disney Plus in the UK. It is shown as providing the mostly elderly nomads with a place to stay, the companionship of smiling colleagues, and work that Frances McDormand’s character Fern says she likes – not to mention “great money”. 

Small wonder that the monster truck of the corporate world allowed the cameras in. 

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