Paterson

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Paterson
"After the initial disbelief that Jarmusch has written and directed a movie as simple and quiet as this, you settle into the rhythm of the piece and begin to appreciate the secret"

"How was your day?" she asks.

"The usual," he says

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This is a film about the usual. Driving a bus. Walking the dog. Going to the bar. Eating a meal. Sleeping. Waking up at six. Going to work. Writing in his notebook. Writing poetry. William Carlos Williams lived in Rutherford, NJ. He was a poet and a doctor.

Jim Jarmusch doesn't make movies like this. He's edgy (Stranger Than Paradise), dangerous (Only Lovers Left Alive), off limits (Ghost Dog), sometimes difficult (Mystery Train), occasionally brilliant (Down By Law). Why is he interested in a bus driver/poet? Or is that poet/bus driver?

Paterson (Adam Driver) doesn't say much. He observes. He listens to other people talking on the bus. He meets a 10-year-old girl in the street. She writes poetry too, she says, and reads him one of her poems. He loves it.

"Do you like Emily Dickinson?" he asks.

"She's my favourite," the girl says.

His wife is called Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). She's so special she's not of this world. Well, she is obviously but has qualities you don't find in Cynical City. She's beautiful inside and out, a designer who wants to be the best cup cake chefette in New Jersey. She has a thing about black-and-white stripes and circles. They are everywhere. She paints her clothes. They are her.

"I have made a secret pie," she says.

"What's in it?" he asks.

"That's a secret," she says.

The film follows their lives every day for a week. Little things happen. Bigger things almost happen. After the initial disbelief that Jarmusch has written and directed a movie as simple and quiet as this, you settle into the rhythm of the piece and begin to appreciate the secret, the secret of the pie, the secret of their hearts, and with it comes a tension, a flutter of fear, that something might break the idyll.

"Without love what reason is there for anything?" he asks.

Reviewed on: 22 Nov 2016
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Story of a bus driver and a poet and a maker of cup cakes and a dog walker and a week in New Jersey where small things happen
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