‘There’s always another day, right?’
Directed by Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Broken Flowers), Paterson is a week-in-the-life of New Jersey bus driver, Paterson.
I can tell you’re already riveted by that plot description, but bear with me for a few minutes of your time.
Like many of the films you will see on this Best Of The Decade list, Paterson is as deserving of a place as the rest of them.
The key ingredient that makes this soulful flick ring so true? Adam Driver of course.
Giving arguably his career best performance, Driver roots himself inside the earnest, gleeful aura of Paterson’s optimistic personality.
From the contemplative gazes out the driver’s seat window, to his heartwarming interaction with an aspiring poet, Driver is nothing short of a delight to watch as he navigates the week. Aside from his daily adventures of bus endeavours, Paterson expresses himself via poetry written during his lunch breaks.
Although he is reluctant to share it with anyone else’s ears, Paterson’s train of thought breathes and pulses with pureness. Everyone has a coping mechanism to deal with the experiences of the day-to-day, and peeking into his doesn’t feel voyeuristic, but intimate as we’re allowed to listen to his solace.
It’s all in the little things.
The underpinning arc of Paterson lies within the question of how do the little things change our day? Jarmusch and Driver wonderfully explore the avenues of everyday tasks, from the mundane to the emotionally challenging.
Which way will his dog take him for a walk today? The streets of Paterson N.J are holding the keys to a wholesome causality.
Jarmusch paints the world of Driver’s delightful bus driver with interactions between his wife, friends and passers by. This is the canvas for the main ‘conflicts’ that appear to challenge Paterson’s optimism.
From white lies to his wife about her career choices or interesting pie recipes, to observations of crumbling relationships at the local bar, Jarmusch and Driver weave through these scenarios with a naturalistic ease that offers a level of realism.
Where Paterson fully realises its potential is in its evoking of a personal perception of our experiences. The engagement of material, especially in a medium like film, is obviously a very individualised experience.
With the premise of Jarmusch’s world rooted in a tangible view of a neighbourhood or town, it’s easy to become immersed in the miniscule or larger details that make up Paterson’s environment.
Jarmusch’s faith in community and face to face engagements sings throughout each nuance that presents itself on each day of Paterson’s week.
I guarantee there is a personality, feeling or scenario of Paterson’s day-to-day that is encountered in our own lives.
We are a character invited to live here for a week, as much as Paterson himself is inhabiting it. In a climate mostly dominated by ‘tent-pole’ movies, Paterson is a welcome glimpse into a world of hope, creativity, love and ultimately, connection.
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