Jim Jarmusch’s ode to the everyday is nostalgic, delightful and poetic
An unabashed celebration of the quiet life, Paterson is Jim Jarmusch’s latest shot at an ephemeral film about nothing – but deliciously so. Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in Paterson, N.J. who writes poetry in his spare time and shuns computers and cell phones.
Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) is the dreamer of the couple, envisioning her own cupcake shop or country music stardom, and seemingly capable of both. Driver’s character, by contrast, is satisfied with his contained and predictable existence, and does not wish to share his poetry, despite his wife’s urging. Spanning a week, Paterson is a sonnet to a peaceful life, interspersed with small acts of heroism and minor challenges.
While Paterson the bus driver is undoubtedly the focus, Jarmusch pays special tribute to Paterson, NJ. The city comes into beautiful focus with breathtaking cinematography, from the derelict red brick factories to the waterfall that serves as the town’s famous landmark. Its natives feature heavily, from the wall of fame in the bar where Paterson drinks exactly one beer every evening, to the candid conversations overheard on the bus. Jarmusch lovingly recreates a slice of Small Town, U.S.A. Driver’s stoic performance is exquisitely subtle, leading the audience through his week with quiet dignity. Farahini’s performance as Laura is charming and unaffected.
Jarmusch offers a masterful and soft-spoken tribute to a small and nostalgic life well lived.