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  • Paterson | Review

    By | December 28, 2016


    Director: Jim Jarmusch

    Writer: Jim Jarmusch

    Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie, Rizwan Manji, Dominic Liriano, Jaden Michael

    Paterson is a typical Jim Jarmusch film: slow paced, quirky, filled with a diverse cast of interesting characters (with place serving as a character in and of itself), capturing the beauty and mystery of day to day living while telling a story that doesn’t really have a beginning or an ending. And for me, that’s a great thing.

    Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver who shares a name with the city he drives in, Paterson, NJ. On a side note, I wouldn’t be surprised if Driver landed the role partially because his last name is Driver. He lives a simple life, living in a small house with his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) and her English bulldgog, Marvin. Every morning Paterson rises early, sharing a moment of snuggling with his half-asleep wife before eating a cup of Cheerios and heading out to drive his bus all day.

    Jarmusch quickly shows that Paterson’s life is a regular routine. Sitting in his bus, waiting for the green light to pull out and start his routes, he scribbles poetry in in a notebook before Donny (Rizwan Manji) lets him know he’s good to roll out. They always have a small exchange that involves Donny listing all the many things going wrong in his life before him asking Paterson how he’s doing. His response, “I’m okay.” As Paterson drives around the town, he enjoys picking up pieces of conversation from his passengers as he works on mentally crafting the poem he is currently working on.

    After his day of driving is done, Paterson walks home and checks the mail in the leaning mailbox in front of his house, always attempting to straighten it back up before coming in to talk to his wife about her day spent at home. Unlike Paterson, Laura is not a creature of habit but is instead constantly finding new passions. A quirky soul who is obsessed with black and white color schemes, she sows and paints and bakes cupcakes and wants to become a country singer. She’s brimming with creative energy, even if she lacks focus.

    After dinner, Paterson always takes Marshall for a walk, seemingly at Laura’s insistence, despite the fact that Marshall seems to dislike Paterson, growling any time he speaks to him or kisses Laura. Paterson’s walk involve a stroll to a neighboring bar, along the way he often interacts with a variety of Paterson residents, where he ties up Marshall outside and heads inside to drink exactly one beer every evening while chatting with bartender/bar owner Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley) and a rotating cast of bar patrons. Then it’s back home to call it a night before starting it all over again the next day.

    While this doesn’t sound like the stuff of cinematic drama, it’s endlessly fascinating and entertaining. Jarmusch has an eye for capturing the heart and soul of a place and the shots of Paterson’s bus rolling down the city streets, the snippets of commuter conversations that are captured, the personal dramas that are being lived out and slightly overlap into Paterson’s routines, all make for a slowly moving and emotionally satisfying look at the beauty and drama and failures and triumphs that make up our lives.

    Rating: 9/10

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