Paterson - Movie Review


Paterson - Movie Review

Arguably director Jim Jarmusch’s best and most underrated film, 2016’s Paterson was criminally overlooked upon its initial release in theaters. Adam Driver’s performance received critical acclaim and introduced his talent to a wider audience who had only known him from HBO’s Girls.

But otherwise, the film didn’t create the sort of waves it should have a few years ago, which is a shame. The story is deceptively simple yet beautifully executed -anchored by strong performances and perhaps the most authentic depiction of New Jersey to ever hit movie screens.

A sensitive and quiet bus driver, Paterson, lives and works in - yes - Paterson, NJ. His life is a series of meditative routines, wherein he drives a bus, observes the urban landscape around him, and listens to fragments of conversations from passengers.

He takes the lunch his wife, Laura, lovingly prepares for him and eats it at the Paterson Waterfalls every afternoon.

He also writes beautiful poetry in the basement of their shared home; his day only interrupted by work, hearing about the farfetched endeavors the equally creative Laura hopes to embark upon, walking the dog, and drinking exactly one beer at the neighborhood bar.

His wife is his greatest champion and believes that his poetry should reach a wider audience. But the modest Paterson demures, unsure if he wants - or needs - to put himself out there or break the routine that he has grown accustomed to and comfortable with. He writes primarily for himself, and an audience doesn’t necessarily seem to be at the forefront of his mind.

Of course, the film pays tribute to another NJ poet, William Carlos Williams, who also wrote about the Paterson Waterfalls a great deal. The film’s seemingly slight plotting belies its utterly unique story and gentle pacing. Paterson is a deeply thoughtful and riveting film.

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Updated 3 years ago