Paterson is an atypical proposal. It lacks a proper story engine, there’s no conflict what so ever that propels the plot forwards. One might argue that it’s precisely that which drives the film, and I’d partially agree. But what I believe pushes the film forwards is its cyclical form, the unity given by the daily routine starting on a MONDAY is due to come to a closure a week later.
Several things make Paterson a very attractive film:
- its plotlessness. Because nothing really happens in our lives as well, right? By betting on this, Mr. Jarmush takes a spin from traditional storytelling (yes, not the first one to do it) which places emphasis either on the exceptional or on the depth of detail, and brings to front a regular week in the life of a bus driver…
- which happens to write poetry in between. (So, character design) He’s neither overtly good at it, nor silly, and he’s at ease enough with himself and mature enough to see things for what they are. Plus, Adam Driver is hugely rewarding to look at. Much has been said about the man’s face and voice, one that let us read his thoughts, as if.
- Tone. All of the above to say that Paterson’s cinematic language, its tone is soothing. There’s a lot of comfort in waking up seven times along this film’s characters.
The ending brings so much subtextual light and the low key kind of hope that only some artists know how to provide. Mr. Jarmush is one of them.
Winking Easter Egg bringing together Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, of Moonrise Kingdom fame.
I’m not too happy with the female character design as well, but could be explained by observing a poet’s way of creating his own kind of muse. Laura is by no means a realistically portrayed character, so we shouldn’t judge it likewise.