ELDERLY curmudgeon Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) receives a bogus prize notification and embarks on a crosscountry odyssey to collect the million dollars he believes is waiting for him in the titular state.

The old man's despairing son David (Will Forte) and long-suffering wife Kate (June Squibb) try make Woody see sense, to no avail.

Fearful of the repercussions for his father's health, David agrees to indulge Woody's fantasy and he accompanies the doddering patriarch on his journey to the offices of the lottery company.

En route, they stop off at the home of Aunt Martha (Mary Louise Wilson) and Uncle Ray (Rance Howard).

They are delighted to learn of a windfall in the family. So too are numbskull cousins Bart (Tim Driscoll) and Cole (Devin Ratray), and Woody's onetime friend Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach), who claims he is owed money from many years before.

Shot in crisp black and white, Nebraska is a bittersweet road movie, which deftly sketches the sinewy bonds between dysfunctional members of the Grant clan.

Dern delivers one of the finest performances of his illustrious career, tugging heartstrings as his forgetful family man clings onto the hope of collecting his winnings, even if he has to die trying.

Squibb is hysterical in support and Forte is a lovable straight man, caught in the middle of madness.

Director Alexander Payne treats every character with warmth and compassion – even those who, on the surface, don't appear to deserve it.