Nicole M. Campbell is a KFI editrix. She has seen 204 movies this year. What have you done with your life? This week, the Girl on Film gives us her review of Jim Jarmusch’s latest fictional offering, “Paterson,” which played at AFI Fest 2016.
If you think
A movie about
A poetry-writing bus driver
In New Jersey
You're Kinda Right
But boring isn't bad when you're watching a Jim Jarmusch movie. Because boring doesn't have the usual connotation. Jarmusch's films unfold like an origami octopus, each tentacle revealing another nuanced part of the narrative.
"Paterson" takes place in yes, Paterson, New Jersey. But the movie's title is also the name of the film's poetry-producing protagonist.
Adam Driver plays the bus driver. If you're only used to seeing him as the dick boyfriend on "Girls" or the evil Kylo Ren in the latest "Star Wars" film, his performance in "Paterson" will be a nice change. He's a kind-hearted man in a loving relationship with his artistically-bent wife, who sees things in black and white. Literally.
You never get the feeling Paterson is unhappy with his life in Paterson. He has a daily routine not unlike everyone else's. Bowl of cereal. Work commute. Dog walk. Time at the local bar.
But his sanctuary is his poetry. In a unique visual, the poems appear on the screen as they're being written, voiced by Driver as if he's writing them in real time. His voice and halting delivery are pleasantly jarring, forcing you to focus on the words as they're being delivered.
The pitter-patter of "Paterson" is soft and subtle. The movie moves along slowly, at its own pace. There's no big reveal, no hidden truth. In this movie, truth is beauty and Paterson sees it in his surroundings, in a place not often known for its wonder.
This wasn't my favorite Jarmusch movie (that would be 1991's "Night on Earth," profiling interactions between taxi driver and passenger in five different cities around the world) but in a way, "Paterson" is like slipping into a warm bath drawn by someone you deeply admire. In a world awash with films-go-boom, "Paterson" is a welcome bit of movie meditation.
“Paterson” opens at the end of the month in limited release.