Paterson is a movie that can be taken a number of different ways. At the core of the film are love and dreams, but how people handle the triumphs and downfalls of everyday life are what the film is really about. It’s a quiet tale with just enough humor, emotion and fun to satisfy almost anyone who watches. There is a lesson to be learned for those who look deeper into the movie, but it’s an enjoyable experience even at the surface.
Adam Driver takes on the titular role of Paterson, a bus driver who lives in Paterson, New Jersey. His live-in girlfriend, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), is an aspiring artist who doesn’t seem to have a negative bone in her body. Of course, the real star of Paterson may just be Marvin (Nellie), Laura’s English Bulldog. A majority of the film revolves around these three characters, with smaller roles in the form of Donny (Rizwan Manji), Paterson’s boss at the bus depot, and Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley), Paterson’s friend and the owner of a bar Paterson frequently nightly.
The film follows Paterson on a daily basis over the course of a week. We see Paterson go to work at the bus depot, interact with Donny, write poetry throughout the day (complete with an internal monologue), come home to spend time with Laura and partake in her latest artist or culinary creation, then head out on a walk with Marvin as he makes a stop at Doc’s bar. While it may seem like a mundane daily routine, what matter are the small intricacies and how Paterson and the people that surround him react.
Everyone in the film has a problem to overcome. As the movie progresses some of the characters are able to overcome their problems and find success, while others stay in the same place with no forward movement. How each character handles their problems and life, in general, is where the movie shines. We all have problems in life, but how we deal with them is what truly defines us.
Paterson isn’t a big studio tentpole, but it can appeal to anyone in the world if they take the time to really understand what’s going on with each character. To some Laura may be a lazy artist feeding off of Paterson, but to others, she is following her dreams in hopes that they become a reality, and Paterson’s love and support are a big part of that.
The only negative aspect of the film is that it may be a bit long for some audiences. Clocking in at just shy of two hours, there’s a lot to take in and it comes at a moderately slow pace. While interested parties should enjoy all two hours of Paterson, some people may get impatient, especially if they’re having difficulty understanding the deeper meaning behind the characters and their daily lives. Overall, Paterson is an enjoyable, albeit a quiet film that should put a smile on your face.
Synopsis: A quiet observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.
Directors: Jim Jarmusch
Writers: Jim Jarmusch
Stars: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Nellie
Runtime: 1 Hour, 58 Minutes