Movie Review – Paterson
Category : Movie Review
Director: Jim Jarmusch
I put Paterson fairly far down my list because, honestly, I wasn’t expecting much out of it. Jim Jarmusch is a unique director, I’ll give him that, but his films (Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control, Only Lovers Left Alive) are a little out there on occasion, never really make a mainstream impact, and have never stood out to me as a critic. My mistake perhaps, because Paterson is so many things I never thought it could be, a surprisingly excellent movie that is also shockingly simple. I guess I’ll put Jarmusch back on my radar, but perhaps more importantly we all need to keep our eyes pinned on Adam Driver. He rarely makes a mistake, brings something new to each role, and probably made this movie, as he does so often we’ll have to stop calling it luck and start referring to it as genius.
Paterson lives in Paterson, and no that’s not a joke. The town is Paterson, New Jersey, the man is Paterson, he has always lived there, and in many ways he represents what that city is all about. Paterson is a bus driver by day, a poet in his spare time, and an ordinary every-man in so many ways that he almost becomes a caricature of normalcy. Each day he wakes up around 6:15 next to the love of his life, gets dressed, has a bowl of cereal, walks to work, drives the bus, eats a pail lunch, writes a few lines of poetry, walks home, has dinner, walks the dog, has a beer, and then starts it all again. We watch Peterson during a week of his life, and though his routine rarely changes, his life isn’t exactly dull, but rather simple in a way that’s more attractive than you might imagine.
Paterson is great, though you might not believe me. Basically, nothing happens, we watch the main character live out an entire week, one day at a time, and by the end we’re in love. Not just with him, but with his town, his wife, his routine, his walks, and the simple way in which he lives. No frills, no gimmicks, either in the story or in the action, just pure living, with a hint of art to keep things interesting. This film is unaccountably good, with fine acting from Driver, a terrific character from his wife, odd humor that comes out of nowhere, and a message that’s more a feeling than anything spoken aloud. There were moments where I tried to dive a little deeper, where I pondered the reality of the film and if we were meant to see it from a more fantastic angle. But in the end, I realized that it didn’t really matter, the movie could be watched in any number of ways, but the result would always be the same; a funny, subtle look at the absurdity and beauty of each and every day, something that’s hard to see, but is worth remembering.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆