Paterson is a film that’s as quiet and contemplative as the titular character. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, Broken Flowers and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, brings this character study to life in a big way. There are lots of little things in this poetic film to pick up on accompanied with a very strong performance by the lead.
Paterson is a quiet, contemplative film that is extremely enjoyable
Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver and private poet living with his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), in Paterson, New Jersey. He is on a strict routine from day to day life while Laura is a dreamer constantly shifting her passions. Yet, there is something poetic about their relationship and the encounters he has throughout his days.
Driver gives a great performance that is extremely understated while charming. His character is quiet, but not really shy. He just seems to be willing to keep a lot of his thoughts inside or on the page in the form of poems. This introspection in the character creates an opportunity for some interesting voice over that doubles as him writing his poems. His quiet, accepting demeanor works really well as we examine his relationship with his idealist wife who wants to be a baker, country musician, and painter. Despite her eccentric quirks, her style seems very simplistic opting for black and white as her color palette for most things. It could be why she loves a guy who is so straightforward with his approach to life.
These poetic compliments are a theme that is explored heavily and definitely warrants additional viewings to fully understand what Jarmusch is going for. There are three sets of twins and he meets three other poets of very different styles. The wife’s pillowcase is different then his and the sheets of their bed. His favorite spot is a waterfall, one poet’s story is called water fall, and his wife has a painting of his favorite place. These are just some of the little elements in the film that clearly have more meaning than at first glance and is one of the reasons Jarmusch is such an interesting filmmaker.
Paterson was extremely enjoyable and simple to watch. In many ways it was refreshing to watch a movie where the stakes were relatively low by comparison to all of the spectacle associated with the summer movies. The performances are solid and the story in simple. Paterson earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.