“Paterson” Savannah Film Festival Movie Review


Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street

Film was reviewed from the 2016 Savannah Film Festival screening.


Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street

Paterson (Adam Driver) wakes up in bed beside his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) next to him. There is no alarm clock sounding; you can just tell that this is the regular routine for Paterson. He looks at his watch to see what time it is and gives his sleepy wife a kiss. They cuddle for a while and then Paterson gets up and gets ready for the day. He eats a cup of cereal and heads out the door.

Paterson is a bus driver in the town of the same name, Paterson, New Jersey. As he walks the streets, we see the words of a poem he is working on superimposed on the screen. As Paterson slowly narrates the poem, the words appear in a leisurely, steady stream. He arrives at his job, and we see him, inside his bus working on the poem. His supervisor, Donny (Rizwan Manji), tells Paterson his latest woes and then sends him off to run his route. We see how Paterson works, attentive at the wheel but still is interested enough to overhear his passengers talk about their lives, loves and dreams.

At lunch, Paterson opens his metal lunchbox. Inside his a picture of his wife tapes to the inside along with a vast array of lunch items. As Paterson sits on a bench in front of a beautiful bridge and waterfall, he continues to write his poem. We cut to Paterson walking home, still going over the poem in his head as he travels the streets and back alleys of his town. He comes home, gets the mail and straightens the mailbox, which is leaning to one side.


Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street

He comes home to discover his wife has painted the curtains with a pattern of circles. It’s an easy banter between two people who love each other and are genuinely interested in each others lives. After dinner, Paterson takes their bulldog, Marvin for a walk, or more like Marvin takes Paterson for a tug. They end up at a local bar run by Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley), with Marvin being left tied up outside the bar. It’s very much a neighborhood bar where everyone else knows everyone’s business. Doc and Paterson discuss the most famous people that have called Paterson home. It’s a routine that both men seem to enjoy. The next scene we see is the next morning, where Paterson awakes to do it all over again.


Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street

“Paterson” is a sweet, delightful film looking at life in small-town America through the eyes of a man who loves his life and poetry. Writer/director Jim Jarmusch brings a small sample of the blissful life that Paterson and his wife live, a couple happy to celebrate the little moments in their lives. Paterson is striving to be a poet, always writing in is “secret book,” filling its pages with beautiful small works that takes its material from his everyday life. Like his marriage, his poetry celebrates the small things in life, like how when the rain stops falling, the windshield wipers squeak across the windshield of his bus. Paterson, though given numerous times to claim it, never tells anyone that he writes poetry. Even though it is evident through his knowledge of books and writers – it’s a passion. Jarmusch has created a world that seems real and comfortable. He wants us to soak in the life of Paterson; his loves, his life and his simple journey that gives him so much happiness.


Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street

The film is greatly aided by the cinematography of Frederick Elmes, which lets the beauty of the streets of Paterson seem crisp, real and welcoming. Jim Jarmusch’s band Sqürl give the film an almost surreal feel at times, especially during those times when Paterson is reciting his poetry. Editor Affonso Goncalves does a masterful job of using cuts to create a rhythmic feel to the film, producing a flow that keeps the film moving at a slow, but comfortable pace. My only quibble with this movie is the use of superimposing images on top of other images (like a closeup of his wife) while Paterson is reciting some of the poetry. It’s jarring and contributes nothing to the film.

Adam Driver gives a wonderfully understated performance as a man who is content in his life and his work. Paterson is a man who enjoys his life, and it’s routine. Driver allows Paterson sit back and let life flow in front of him, which gives his character more to write about and express. Driver and Golshifteh Farahani, as his wife, play off each other with incredible chemistry, as he lets his character’s delight show as his wife tells him of her new art project or dinner invention. Farahani is a spark plug; the screen can barely contain her as he bubbles with energy and excitement, a considerable contrast to Driver’s low-key Paterson. The interaction between the two characters and the performances of Driver and Farahani makes this film such a joy to watch.

You will enjoy spending seven days with Paterson, so much so, that you will wish once the movie ends that you could extend your stay for another week.    My Review: Full Price  

My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again

“Paterson” Facebook page

For more information about the Savannah Film Festival, go to  www.filmfest.scad.edu

For more of Mike’s reviews and interviews click here



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