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Paterson a charming portrait of a normal man

By Aisouda Savadlou, October 7 2016 —

One of the headliners in the Calgary International Film Festival was Paterson — the latest film from director Jim Jarmusch starring Adam Driver and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani.

The film carried high expectations for me since Farahani was named lead actress alongside Driver, and Paterson didn’t disappoint.

The movie follows a bus driver named Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey and drives the 23 Paterson route. He wakes up at the same time, drives on the same streets every day and is an overall ordinary guy. However, Paterson spends his free time writing poetry in his “secret notebook.”

Paterson’s wife Laura has big dreams, cares deeply for her husband and loves anything that is black and white. She is seen baking cupcakes and expressing her desire for having her own business in one scene, while in another she is learning the guitar and wants to become a country singer.

The pair could not be any more different from each other. Paterson loves routine and order while Laura craves change and is constantly trying new things. He is practical while she follows her heart, even when her goals appear to be unachievable. Regardless of their dissimilarities, she supports Paterson and encourages him to publish his poetry.

In addition to a diverse cast, the details in the props in Paterson’s house and the music that Laura listens to are accurate representations of Persian culture that I, as an Iranian, appreciated.  

One thing that I absolutely loved about the movie was how simple and uplifting it is. Paterson is a bus driver and while finances are discussed, the topic is not in any way the main focus as it typically is with other movies involving working class characters.

Jarmusch uses a wide range of incredibly calming shots. Focus on certain objects, Paterson’s face and shots overridden by audio clips of him slowly reading his poetry word by word as he wrote them make the film a soothing and enjoyable experience.

Paterson beautifully portrays the life of a working class man. It is a unique retelling of the typical day to day life of a person we can all relate to. Whether you are like Paterson yourself or know someone like him, prepare to fall in love and sympathize with the poetic bus driver.


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