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|Index||277 reviews in total|
So much to say, so little time...
The Station Agent came along and reminded me how movie making should be. Simple, natural, humane. At first, I hesitated to watch it because films about "less fortunate people" tend to get cheesy and try too hard to make you shed a tear. People only praise them because they feel sorry for the main character... but this time you won't get any of that gratuitous sentimentality.
In my opinion, the movie's greatest quality is that it never insists in pointing out the obvious (that life is unfair), instead it shows you the interior journey of the three main characters towards acceptance/understanding of their condition/situation. All made possible by the perfectly natural performances of these wonderful actors. You know what they think and feel without them having to say "deep" things like people in most artsy pictures do. All the magic is in the normal, everyday details, subtle gestures, filmed with a lot of good taste and without the use of cute or overly dramatic elements. The soundtrack fits like a glove with slow, bitter-sweet guitar tunes that feel fresh and create a sensible, warm mood.
Experiencing this film is worth so much more than all the soulless excitement and drama we're usually treated with. I've watched it a lot of times and I appreciated it more and more with each viewing. The characters are more real to me than a lot of fake people I know. I also warmly recommend The Straight Story if you like to walk away from movies with more than you came in.
`The Station Agent' has been widely recognized as one of the indie darlings of 2003, and there is no objection on my part. `The Station Agent' stars Peter Dinklage as Fin, a dwarf train-aficionado who decides to reside to a solitary New Jersey rural town after his best friend succumbs to a heart attack. There he befriends Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a Cuban-American gabby ice cream vendor; and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a middle-aged woman grieving the loss of her child. The film then invokes itself to the unexpected friendship of the triad of these eccentric characters. What conducts this train film on the right track is the `railmarakable' performances of Dinklage, Cannavale, and Clarkson. All Oscar-worthy here! I am sure their own agents will be quite busy in the near future! Tom Mccarthy executed the proper directorial conduction to this train story. Also, his colloquial screenplay brought the right kind of Mcarthyism to `The Station Agent'. So as your `movie agent', your next station destination should be a stop at `The Station Agent'. If the `choo' fits, see it! **** Good
This was great, great, great.
Game of Thrones had already reminded me of just how great an actor Peter Dinklage is. When I saw this online, I snapped it up. He's such an attractive man, and talented as well... how could I leave it there?
I'm so glad that I got it. It's a slow film. Somewhat the speed of a good slow western, but with so much packed into it. It reminded me of ''The Company of Strangers'', in feel, though completely different in substance. You really have to laugh through a lot of it, the one-liners, and recognizable silly situations had me ''rolling in the aisles''.
And being a train lover, I had to have a quiet chuckle about the thread of trains through the film.
I have a very eclectic taste in film, Alien and Predator have a shelf of their own, however I always have lots of this type of film. This will go on the same shelf as ''Ghost Dog'', and ''The Whales of August'', ''Hana Bi'' and the like. A wonderful film about the human condition.
That's exactly what I couldn't do throughout the whole movie - wipe that smile off my face; everything about this movie was just so full of charm, wonder and joy that it's almost impossible not to smile or laugh. The characters are all lovingly crafted and lovably quirky - Fin is the titular Station Agent who has lived his life segregating himself from others due to his condition (dwarfism), but we gradually see him open up to reveal himself to be a very kind and quick-witted individual. Fin just wants to be left alone, so when he inherits an old, run-down train depot in Newfoundland, NJ, it's almost a dream come true for him - he's in the middle of practically nowhere and he loves trains! However his lonesome bliss is disturbed when an assorted cast of characters gradually draw him out of his shell and threaten to bring down the walls that he had built around his life to protect himself. Fin's transformation from ostracised recluse to a confident and out-going companion is helped along by Bobby Cannavale's Joe, a Cuban-American helping his sick dad run his hot-dog van business. Joe is a lover of life, he's perpetually optimistic, positive and he never shuts up! Olivia also helps Fin, she's a clumsy and sometimes absent-minded artist who is running from her own problems, which ultimately becomes the cause of some strife towards the end of the movie. I absolutely loved this movie, I don't know why it took me so long to finally watch it, and I'm glad I did when I did, because I was feeling a little depressed and unexcited about life, and then this cheered me up and reminded me that everybody has down days, but I shouldn't let these down times cloud over what life has to offer; it's rare for a movie to have that kind of effect on you. Purely magical.
This film is best when it not trying so hard. Like in the opening scenes
when character Olivia who has almost run over Finbar (twice) insists on
offering him a ride on both occasions. It's flashes of humour more than make
up for a partial loss of directioon later on. I also enjoyed a scene on the
wharf when Olivia and Finbar have a little laugh about Joe 's almost too
busy rush. He is disturbed there is no garlic press when he could have also
been enjoying the moment. Emily the librarian makes the best of the script.
It is a measure of the backstory that watching trains seems almost
interesting and the train chasing scene has a spontaneous feel to it.
If the director was able to rehearse some of the later scenes in the way that Clint Eastwood does with his cast, they may have continued to unwrap more naturally. I was also reminded on some of the early Hal Hartley (Trust, Simple Men and before) in watching this. A great first movie and some great moments.
First I have to take my hat off to Peter Dinklage. I've liked and
respected him as an actor for a long time but this is the first time
I've seen him as the lead in a film, and boy does he deliver.
The premise of this film is pretty used up: 'Grumpy guy makes new friends, becomes more open to life'. However, Dinklage delivers the character's avoidance of unnecessary communication with other people with a truthful kindness I find extremely rare in films, no matter which country or decade.
Together with Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale who are also excellent, Dinklage and director Tom McCarthy have created a mood piece that gave me the exact same feeling as going on school trips as a teenager, and sneaking out of our tent at night to flirt with the boys. You might have to have grown up in a country with distinctive seasons to appreciate this sentiment, but watching this movie felt just like summer.
I also enjoyed the fact that the three friends do behave like teenagers to a certain degree. It's refreshing to see adults acting like this in a film.
All this being said, I think parts of the film didn't sit well with me, especially the opening. I actually had to watch it twice to understand what was going on, and not in a good way. I also found that the conflict in the film seemed a little forced, but all in all I m very happy I decided to watch this film.
There are those in life who don't stray too far from the path presented
in front of them. They live life in the safety of knowing where they
are going. Like a train on the rails, they stay on those rails and ride
them out, regardless of what they see along the way. Sometimes...you
have to jump off.
Thomas McCarthy's The Station Agent follows one man's struggle to find peace of mind and solitude. Instead he finds an abandoned train depot and two people he can't avoid.
Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage), a man of small stature but not of mind, has devoted his life to making model trains and studying the real ones from roof to rail. When Henry, part owner of their train store and fellow train enthusiast passes away, the shop is closed and in his will he leaves Fin a small piece of land with an old train depot.
Here in this little shack he finds peace and quiet, time to walk the rails, and just a lot of time. Upon arrival, he meets Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a man from Manhattan who works his fathers coffee stand until he gets better. Joe is a loud mouth guy who means no harm but to strike up some good conversation.
One of his regulars, Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), accidentally runs Fin off the road...twice. Fin's peaceful escape is already becoming a dreadful nightmare with the constant chatter of Joe and the near fatal encounters with Olivia.
Out of this utter disaster of a beginning, the three become close friends. Joe's constant badgering and Olivia's sweet hearted nature eventually bring Fin out of his shell. A shell that he has retreated to many times due to his height. For what appears like the first time, Fin isn't reminded of this when he is around these two.
McCarthy has created one of the most original stories of modern cinema. The characters, who could not have been cast better, are complex but are easy to understand. Fin just wants to isolate himself from the world that has pointed and joked about him his entire life. Joe wants friendship and the simple things to keep him happy. Olivia is a woman who has lost what is most dear to her and is trying to escape the pain it caused her.
The character of Fin in particular is of extreme interest. It's ironic how his passion in life is trains, which were invented to bring people and places closer together, yet he chooses to live mostly in seclusion and away from it all. His little contact to those who admire trains as he does and the people of the convenience store and library seem to be his only contact to the outside world. Joe and Olivia change that in a hurry.
Throughout the film he is seen wearing a white collared shirt with black suit pants and black shoes. His life very uninteresting, as if void of color like his clothing. His two new friends bring out the best in him and even some color in his clothing. Joe, Olivia, even Emily the librarian (Michelle Williams) bring out the best of Fin. A life that would have not ventured too far from the tracks is now derailed and free to explore the world outside the depot.
The film isn't about trains. It isn't about a guy who loves trains. It's about the impact that friendship and simple human contact can have on a person, good and bad. How its the little things we do whether we give someone a look or a laugh at a joke, those are the things that make a difference in someone's life.
The Station Agent shines. It is about people just trying to get by the best way they can through work, art, trains, and good old conversation.
A silent retired dwarf with odd hobbies, a babbling Hispanic lorry-café
worker with sick father, a separated female artist with family issues -
all lonely in different ways, getting together in a small sleepy
township. Formation of friendship is not easy, has its ups and downs,
as all three are totally different, plus, for a long time, there is no
big event to boost their relationship. Of course, such crumble contacts
would have bright and comic moments - I giggled many times, although it
is no comedy, rather a sad and romantic drama without erotic
And the cast is strong and fine, beginning with Peter Dinklage as Finbar McBride, Patricia Clarkson as Olivia Harris and Bobby Cannavale as Joe Oramas - all great characters and performances... A real masterpiece, beyond mainstream stuff, and leading the way to see other movies with the participation of the actors mentioned.
The film succeeds in all the areas. It is quiet, peaceful and something
which we all can adore in the end. Peter Dinklage is hugely responsible
for making the movie so much memorable. From the starting itself it is
clear that this man loves to be quiet and live alone. How one thing
starts to lead to another and how he made some friends is adorable.
Other supporting cast too had charismatic qualities. All the major
character's seemed to be sad inside. The film apart from entertaining
teaches you to find happiness in small thing. The pace of the film is
slow and blends equally well with the lives of the characters. The
story of the film revolves around a dwarfed man who has a fascination
for trains and because of some unusual circumstances, he is forced to
live in an abandoned train depot and his life starts to include certain
new friends with slow but in an interesting way. The story gives you a
feeling that it is all happening so naturally. Because the incidents
are just so slow, not so attention seeking, that somehow in a very
peaceful way you are drawn into them.
MESSAGE: "Search for peace of mind."
VERDICT: "A recommended watch."
You know quirky often means weird, right? 'Specially when it comes to
films - and Indie American ones...
Station Agent is interestingly quirky, where you might take a second look and say "OK, that's a bit different, but hey!" and then just carry on with what you were doing. One of life's "nuances", not freaks of nature.
Finbar here (Peter Dinklage) looks a bit different, being four feet something in height but just wishes he was invisible. People making comments and then realising they shouldn't have then pretending they didn't - all that sort of nonsense.
So, when this quiet trainspotting dwarf hits the comatose backwater town of Newfoundland, NJ, to move into the disused station house left to him by his just deceased employer, quiet is all he wants and....doesn't get.
Through a series of nods, facial expressions and suggested directional strokes (from Thomas McCarthy), Fin, as he's known, quietly desists the attention he's getting from his neighbours. An overly friendly food vendor, Joe (Bobby Cannavale) who spends more time in front of his van than actually in it and estranged single (and bereft) mother Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), who's driver concentration skills desperately need honing.
There's little point in running through the plot, largely because there isn't one. It's heart-warming qualities mainly manifest themselves how these three (relative) oddballs, who are all so utterly different, with almost zero compatibility slowly and naturally become friends.
Nothing much more to add, really, except that I know it is one of many people's top 10 films, though not really in mine. I can see the qualities in it that appeal to them and they're good ones. The film is like a plate of food that is presented to you - it's a bit of mish-mash but it looks edible enough and as you pick at those ingredients, it all tastes better than you thought, but after you've finished, it was just ....a plate of food.
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