#47 – Quiet, contemplative and excellently crafted – Paterson 2016

*** *** *** *** *** ***

Directed & Screenplay by: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley

The Story:

Paterson is our main protagonist and a bus driver in Paterson New Jersey. He is a man who writes poems and sonnets, as he works he contemplates what he will write in his secret journal. We follow Paterson through a week in his life,his daily routine, his wife, friends and dog. A slow paced film about a regular guy who has an incredible gift with words that he doesn’t want to share with the world despite his wife’s encouragement.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

My thoughts

I watched this Amazon original film during the week and it’s stuck with me ever since. Its essentially a film about a week in the life of this bus driver in New Jersey. Nothing really happens like we expect in films there’s no shootings, kidnappings, big plot twists or drama for the sake of dramatic stakes. It’s a glimpse behind the curtain of a man’s life for a week. Paterson is an brilliantly helmed depiction of the day to day things that happen to us all in an average week.

Paterson is a war veteran similar to actor Adam Driver who portrays him. He spends his days usually in silence and taking joy in listening to the varied conversations he overhears in his bus. These stories were some of my favourite segments in the film and they were so different each day. From tough talking and hyped up guys who I’m certain are gay and unable to tell each other so they inflate their ego’s with conversation about how they almost recently slept with some woman but circumstances beyond their control intervined (“I had work early in the morning”) and so on. Teenagers talking about tragedies in history and general small talk you overhear on a public bus yet so rarely do you hear dialogue so natural and free flowing.

Paterson and his wife Laura have a beautiful and supportive relationship. In a lesser film there’d be added conflict and drama out in to add to it but I loved watching the pair exist together and how in love they actually are. Laura seems more capable to verbally communicate her feelings where as Patterson is able to better tell her of his love through poetry. Their unusual relationship and Laura’s eccentricity and so endearing and enjoyable to watch.

We follow Patterson to his job and see what his day looks like. We see his wife and her unusual and certainly individual sense of style around the house. We follow Patterson as he walks his dog, and goes for a beer in the evenings. We see the people he knows and meet new people. It captures the conversations we have with strangers and the effect we can have on each other.

Patterson is excellently written, cast and directed. To me Driver was a real stand out here and he really said a lot without using many words. With such a reserved and stoic role it can be difficult to relate. Patterson shines when he’s able to write and work out his poetry. He’s a true writer, not wanting fame or seeking something else. He simply writes because he must write, it’s all he can do, it’s where he’s his truest self.

Paterson certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s a slow paced, realistic representation of life. I found it to be a breath of fresh air. The film takes pleasure in the average and the routine we find ourselves in. There’s a certain beauty in the small and everyday things, oftentimes some of the most beautiful things are in the small moments, the quiet moments we share with those we’re closest to.

Adam Driver is definitely making interesting and unique choices in his film roles. He’s an actor with great presence and ability on the screen. Driver is soon becoming a favourite of mine to watch lately. I’m excited to see what he does next. He’s got the potential to be a character actor and major film star despite not being the traditional leading man description. Hey Jack Nicholson was the ultimate defenition of a character actor/Movie star, who says it can’t happen again for Driver.

Paterson is a perfect example of a film that’s entirely a character study. If that sounds like something you might be interested in, check it out…