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dir-scr Jim Jarmusch
prd Joshua Astrachan, Carter Logan
with Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani, Barry Shabaka Henley, Rizwan Manji, William Jackson Harper, Chasten Harmon, Cliff Smith, Masatoshi Nagase, Sterling Jerins, Frank Harts, Brian McCarthy, Jorge Vega
release UK 25.Nov.16, US 28.Dec.16
16/US Amazon 1h53
Wake up time: Driver and Farahani
CANNES FILM FEST
TORONTO FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Evoking the poetry of William Carlos Williams, this whimsical comedy-drama explores the profundity of everyday details in Williams' hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. Writer-director Jim Jarmusch lets this hilarious story unfold gently, taking the time to soak in the small things that spice up both our seemingly monotonous lives and our seemingly similar personalities.
Named after his hometown, Paterson (Driver) is a bus driver who enjoys the structure of a daily routine, waking without an alarm clock with his quirky wife Laura (Farahani), who dreams about her life both while asleep and awake. Paterson's day consists of work, dinner with Laura, then walking their expressive bulldog Marvin to the corner bar, where he chats with barman Doc (Henley) and the locals. Through all of this, he writes witty observational poems. Meanwhile, Laura wants to learn to play the guitar while starting a cupcake business.
Driver and Farahani are almost painfully loveable in these roles. Both are cheerful, perhaps because they're so open to whatever life puts in their path. By contrast, Paterson's boss (Manji) carries a litany of complaints with him, while a couple in the bar (Harper and Harmon) seem stuck in a spat for no real reason. Even when something awful happens to them, Paterson and Laura take it as it comes, incorporating their pain and moving forward.
The film is directed at a refreshingly slow pace, meandering through the days of one week by playfully repeating the patterns and then subverting them. Jarmusch refuses to punch the drama or comedy, letting it roll out quietly in every word and gesture. Even the overheard conversations on Paterson's bus are rather fabulous, but not because there's anything momentous about them. There are also some offbeat encounters along the way, most notably with three poets: a rapper (Smith), a young girl (Jerins) and a Japanese tourist (Nagase).
Paterson's poems were written by Ron Padgett and have a superbly quotidian tone, catching small truths that have a big kick. Poetic references include everyone from Emily Dickinson to Allen Ginsberg, plus other local heroes like Lou Costello. In other words, this is a love note to both a town and an artform. And also to the things we usually take for granted in our daily lives. But frankly, the entire film is stolen by the dog, played by the enjoyably vocal Nellie with riotous physicality.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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