Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)
A long time ago I took this off my schedule since I just felt this wasn’t worth a trip to the city, I then pushed it back some more. However, with it being a kind of quiet week I had the time to watch this so I gave it a shot.
Paterson (Adam Driver) | Donny (Rizwan Manji) | Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) | Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley)
Characters & Storyline
Paterson is a simple man. He wakes up and kisses his wife Laura, goes to work and greets Donny, eats the lunch Laura makes and works on a poem. He then goes back to work, fixes his mailbox on the way into the house, talks with his wife about her latest interest, takes the dog for a walk, stops at a bar ran by this man Doc on the way back, goes home and then repeats the same thing the next day. With a few minor changes, this summarizes the movie.
Paterson & Laura
While not much is revealed about the couple in terms of how long they have been together, why they love each other, and all that, it is undeniable that they are cute together. She is the storm to his stoic lake, and you can kind of see they balance each other out. She spends the day painting, coming up with ideas to make money or get creative, and he supports that lifestyle and seems to only silently ask to be part of her life and joy. It isn’t the most romantic relationship you may ever see, but something about it seems very rooted in realism.
Who is Laura?
While I adore Laura as Paterson’s wife, as an individual I feel we learn nothing about her of substance really. She is someone who seems to be either unemployed or a housewife. One which has all these aspirations but with it not being clear how old she is, how long she has been with Paterson, or what her life has been like, you can’t pin down any real feelings about her. Is she someone who isn’t good at following through, is she the type which, once she hits a basic goal, she moves onto the next thing? How does Paterson feel about her going from one thing to the next and perhaps, maybe seldom, actually contributes to the finances of the household? Does he like that when he comes home she is more than likely there, prepping dinner, makes his lunch, or being some form of amusement? None of this is really answered. They are just presented as a cute couple with polar opposite personalities and you are just a voyeur for one week of their life.
On The Fence
It’s Very Slice of Life
Driver’s portrayal of Paterson is without inflection and often times he seems like a ghost in any scene he is in. Which is explained passively through discovering he is a veteran. With that, you can force yourself to understand why he likes simplicity, routine, and why when there is an incident at the bar, he snaps right into action. For, so it seems, whatever he did in the military was high stress and burned him out. So now, the most exciting thing he wants to deal with is his wife’s latest interest or hearing about normal civilian problems. This keeps him calm, alongside his poetry, and perhaps is his way of dealing with whatever he experienced driving vehicles in the military.
With that said, there are certain moments, like when his dog does something which should shake things up, you expect, hope for, some kind of reaction, but get nothing. It’s like, he was trained to be so calm, so reassuring during high-stress moments, that he just doesn’t react anymore. Which, depending on the person, I think could make for a dull viewing experience.
Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)
As noted at Society Reviews, this is not at all a mainstream movie. This is the type of movie for those who enjoy dissecting how things were done on a technical side, who like those niche films where only if you live and breathe indie or are a serious fan of the director/writer or actors involved. As for those who like the type of drama which gets a reaction out of you, the type of romance which makes you swoon or presents fascinating conversation or anything of that ilk? Well, this movie isn’t for you. To me, this would be a “Netflix and Chill” or background noise during a nap type of movie. For it really doesn’t have any strong selling point to set aside two hours of watching the most mundane person and his slightly amusing friends and associates. Yet, despite the fact it is boring, I can’t ding it for anything serious enough to say to skip it.