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The Station Agent More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Small men and big train sets

Author: tieman64 from United Kingdom
23 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Director Thomas McCarthy's casual, spontaneous tone elevates "The Station Agent", an otherwise contrived, sentimental and at times cruel flick about a dwarf on a quest to claim his inheritance upon the death of his sole friend.

The dwarf's name is Finbar McBride, and he's an understandably cranky guy who hates people, is perpetually gloomy and has a huge passion for trains. Luckily his dead friend leaves McBride a piece of property in his will: it's a dilapidated train station shack with an en suite abandoned train. McBride is delighted. He sets off on his journey.

Unfortunately McBride soon picks up a gang of followers, all of whom have their own hangups and woes. Suddenly the dwarf's little problems don't look so big (heh heh), and so he begins to open up his heart and touch others as they touch him. The film was produced by Disney. What do you expect?

Still, it's at times an interesting film, adept at contrasting McBride's boring, jaded maturity with the wide eyed babyness of a character called Joe. Joe's tall but a big kid at heart, while McBride mopes around like an old guy on his death bed. Both stances, the film argues, amount to selfishness. The film's ends with a metaphorical moment of height reconciliation, big and small, young and old at heart, commingling.

8/10 - Like most indie films with a great hook, "The Station Agent" is pleasant, amusing, but ultimately very lightweight. There is also something very cruel about the way director Thomas McCarthy milks suffering in order to elicit cheap emotional responses and broacher hollow solutions.

Worth one viewing.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

heart warming yet funny and very well directed

Author: andrewhayes1985 from United Kingdom
18 April 2011

i was not expecting much from this movie at all.(i put it on to go to sleep)....i might just add i did not fall asleep. what a very simple yet effective story line

the characters in this movie are brilliant.'Fin' the dwarf,at first you just wish he would open up, but yet you don't want him too, as the humour he brings is so dry. sometimes a film with too many characters spoils a film, so, this being a very small story with few characters makes it very easy to follow and lets you connect with the character. i know you now must be thinking 'im not a dwarf', but, watch the film you will be either know someone like the characters or are one of the characters. its a very good feel good movie and also funny in parts. i can guarantee after watching this film you will be smiling.

happy viewing people. i hope you enjoy it as much as i did and, to be honest, im not one for watching this sort of film. But, now I've seen it, im defiantly going to watch more like it. Brilliant basic story line and it didn't have to use A list celebs to make it that way. Awesome, well worth watching especially if you have a sensitive side.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Characters who walk the right of way

Author: napierslogs from Ontario, Canada
17 April 2011

Set in Newfoundland, New Jersey, "The Station Agent" is an uplifting film about finding a home where one belongs. The characters are all alone, either out of choice, necessity, or as consequences. Fin (Peter Dinklage) is a short-statured adult living alone mostly because of the way people respond to him; Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) is trying to escape her life; Joe (Bobby Cannavale) is running a lonely hot-dog stand for his ailing father.

Short-statured adults are frequently in films as characters to laugh at. The good thing about Peter Dinklage is that he actually acts in his roles. The great thing about "The Station Agent" is that they gave him a leading role and which validates his thoughts, feelings and opinions. Some people want to laugh at, insult and hurt him, others are confused by him, or don't know how to properly respond to him, while others just want to be his friend or end up being his friend when they want to be alone just like him.

For the amount of loneliness displayed in this film, there is no despondency. We are given a fair amount of humour and a surprisingly positive ability to rely on the kindness of strangers, even when the strangers aren't intending to be kind. "The Station Agent" is a well written, intelligent and original film that "walks the right of way".

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Living with dwarfism

Author: George Wright from Canada
17 April 2011

'The Station Agent' is a well made film that shows how a young man with dwarfism has sealed himself into a private world until he meets up with some special people. The result is that Fin McBride, played by Peter Dinklage, has to learn to take down the psychological barriers he has made to fence himself in from the hurts and insensitive remarks that come his way. Fin is a guy who has a special love for trains and inherits a piece of land with an abandoned train depot from the elderly man who has been his best friend. When he moves there, he finds neighbours who are able to see him as a human being, not a dwarf, and try to be friends. Bobby Cannavale, as Joe, and Patricia Clarkson, as Olivia, are down to earth people coping with their own challenges in life. Dinklage, as the quiet and reclusive Fin, uses silence to show how Fin has cut himself off from any contact with others. Through the film, there are ups and downs for Fin and his friends but the movie draws smiles as well as frowns, with a few hair-raising moments. This is a film that modern audiences overlook in favour of the more action-filled films. We can learn as well as be entertained by thoughtful movies like this one.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A touching tale of friendship

Author: MBunge from Waterloo, Iowa
3 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Station Agent is a wonderful little film about how people help each other and hurt each other on the way to becoming friends.

Fin (Peter Dinklage) is a dwarf and a train enthusiast who inherits an abandoned depot. He moves there and has friendship forced upon him by Joe (Bobby Cannavale), the guy who runs a hot dog truck that does business outside Fin's depot. He also encounters, and is nearly run over by Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a woman who's separated from her husband and moved into their summer house after her son's death.

The relationship between those three characters form the core of almost the entire film and the filmmaker, Tom McCarthy, does a very nice job of exploring how these three different people both do and don't fit together. Fin is quiet, reserved and almost indifferent to the world. He lives for weeks at the depot and doesn't do more than clean it up. He doesn't even get a bed so he can stop sleeping on the couch. The movie is a little heavy handed depicting how other people find Fin's stature a source of amusement and fascination, but it does make you understand how and why he isolates himself and tries to insulate himself from human contact. Joe is an aggressively friendly guy who almost forces a relationship with Fin into being by sheer will. He's a strong personality who isn't content with himself and needs other people around. Olivia is a wounded woman, still unsettled by her son's death and the breakdown of her marriage, who opens up to Fin almost desperately, as though his unusual nature makes it easier for her to talk to him than to a "normal" person.

The friendship between these three people is entrancing in its subtle truths and gentle understandings. Without Joe's energetic efforts to engage, Fin would likely have turned the depot into a fortress refuge from the rest of the world. Without Fin's calm solidity, Joe could never form a bond with the more delicate, fragile Olivia. And it is Olivia's pain and sorrow that both keep the group connected and threaten to tear it apart.

Fin also befriends a young black girl named Cleo (Raven Goodwin) and their interaction serves as a sort of measuring stick for how Fin is leaving behind isolation to deal with the rest of the world. The local librarian, Emily (Michelle Williams), also gravitates to Fin as a shining alternative to the hometown losers with limited vision that have taken up her time.

One of the things that sets The Station Agent apart from other small, independent films is that there's just enough story to keep things moving. There's no wallowing in the inner emotional lives of these characters. They end the film in a different place than where they started and we can see how they navigate that course and what pushes them on.

In addition to all that, McCarthy also seems to be making a comment about the telephone and what it means to human relationships. Fin doesn't have a phone, symbolizing his being cut off from other people. Joe is constantly getting calls on his cell phone about his ill father, taking him away from Olivia and Fin. To Olivia, phone calls from her husband become these dragons threatening the peace she's trying to build for herself. Phones represent the outside world, reaching in and upsetting the new country of friendship these three people are trying to found. An underlying message of The Station Agent is that the best life you can have is the one with the people in front of you and that life has to withstand the telephonic invasions of obligation and memory from people far away.

The Station Agent is a lovely film in almost every aspect. It doesn't aspire to change your life shake you to your core but is a sweet, sincere reminder of the better things with which you should fill your life.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent indie film

Author: finn-32 from Stoke - England
16 July 2010

This is a fantastic film and for me Dinklage steals the show. And that's a hard thing to do considering his supporting cast are also excellent.

Dinklage as Fin is so believable. The subtlety of some of his acting is sublime. He's just perfect in this role.

Patricia Clarkson is also amazing as Olivia, and Bobby Cannavale is fantastic as Joe.

But it's how the three main actors come together. You get a real feeling that they develop as friends, and in the end become those kind of friends that you keep forever.

This movie draws you in, and you feel that you want to be the fourth member of this intimate circle.

It's my top of my 'buddy' film list, but I feel that by calling it a buddy film I'm doing it a dis-service. It's so much more than that.

Definite 10/10 from me.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A simple, small movie from a big name actor.

Author: solidgameboy12-1 from Troy, Montana
7 July 2010

In this world, there are big men. Big men can be big in stature, ability or a combination of the two. Seeing Peter Dinklage as the character Finn in 2003's The Station Agent, made me realize something: Peter Dinklage is a big man, in both stature and ability, and I almost feel like classifying him as one of my favorite actors of all time (A claim that is difficult for me to say).

Peter Dinklage plays Finn, a man with Dwarfism who works in a model train shop with one of his good friends, who passes away. Finn's best friend leaves in his will, a train depot. Finn takes refuge in the small, but spacious area, and comes across some very unique characters.

Joe (Bobby Cannavale) is a hot dog and coffee vendor who, in his part time takes care of his ill father and tries to make friends with Finn. Olivia (played by the gorgeous Patricia Clarkson) is a woman who just seems to have found friends in Joe and Finn, and it seems to be the best medicine she can get.

What is encountered isn't a movie that challenges anything major, difficult or is particularly risky, but is more or less, an emotional study of people and seclusion. The three characters in the movie are around many people, but they all have some kind of pain held within themselves.

What makes the movie and its use of emotion so great is that it takes the time to help us learn who these people are, instead of spelling it out, and it doesn't seem forced, not even for a second.

When I went into this movie, I was a little bothered with how Dinklage's character was being used. I felt like this movie was going to be rather one note in nature, but the surprise was pleasant, mainly because the movie stopped looking at Finn's height as a focus for the movie and instead evolved the character, to show a man with a fixation for trains, people and communication.

Bobby Cannavale and Patricia Clarkson, as well as some brief, but great scenes with Michelle Williams playing a young and confused librarian and young actress Raven Goodwin playing a little girl named Cleo kept me smiling, but intrigued. The characters are unique without being overly silly, but their problems are real, being the greater part of it all.

I could go outside right now and meet all of these people in the small town I live in and it wouldn't seem silly or ridiculous, as compared to most independent movies where townspeople usually have something odd and quirky about them that takes away from the intrigue of it all.

As I said in the beginning, There are big men in this world, and I consider Peter Dinklage a big man. People might argue that, but I think he is a great actor. Every scene with him in it is amazing. In a world where the roles of actors of short stature are mostly relegated to playing a munchkin character who becomes the punchline for just being on camera, Dinklage can convince anyone that Dwarfs can play just as good leading men, if not better than the average height actors out today.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful Movie, a Rare Gem

Author: crooked_spoons from United States
6 June 2010

I went into this movie having no expectations. I was a virgin of sorts. I had only seen a single still of this movie which was a picture of Peter Dinklage walking along the train tacks. I expected neither good nor bad because I had no idea what it was about.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this gem of a movie. It was simple and quite unique. This film aspired to accomplish a sweet simplicity and it did. It neither tried to confound or confuse the viewer nor did it have puzzles and riddles for the viewer to decipher *after* initial viewing. I only wish it lasted longer. The characters were well acted with a subtlety that eludes so many others. I could watch each of these characters going about their lives for hours. I could watch this movie all day--over and over again.

There are no overtures or illusions and the sweetness isn't saccharine to the point where it's too sugary to swallow or piled on in order to force the viewer to love it. This is a genuinely good movie with heart that demonstrates actors and a director in complete command of their respective crafts. The perfect movie for a Sunday afternoon.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

worth the watch !!!

Author: zien from India
9 June 2009

i have always had this habit of watching movies recommended by others.. Where i come from , movies like these always get a second grade preference because they don't have the "punch". But after seeing this film i got one step closer to realizing how insular we people really are in our movie sense.

The STATION AGENT is a movie about a dwarf who loses a close friend working with him in a train station and after this loss he moves into suburban new jersey to spend some solitary time.Instead he bumps into some very lively and buoyant characters whom he slowly gets close to.Now, the fantastic part about this movie is how the characters take their space in the movie and fill it with joy and hope. Still this movie doesn't shift the spotlight from our dwarf who has a strong,introvert personality of his own. Such small town,feel good and slice of the life movies will always pave their own path

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

great little film

Author: choc from Philippines
27 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After his only friend drops dead (literally), train enthusiast and dwarfism-afflicted Finbar is bequeathed a small neglected train station in an isolated town in rural New Jersey. A recluse by choice (this guy doesn't even have a cellphone!) he surprisingly finds his "walls" in danger of being breached by his 2 new quirky neighbors.

One is Joe, manning his sick father's hotdog stand near Finbar's station. Why Joe would place a hotdog stand in a place where people rarely go... i don't know...(a contrivance im willing to tolerate) nevertheless this Joe is chatty and chummy to a fault, the kind of guy who won't recognize a hint even if bit him in the ass, this guy has absolutely no idea about personal boundaries. This type is fairly common i think, people who get a kick out of hearing the words "get lost" or "get a life" and other derivatives... .. so this Joe is dismissed by Finbar in not-so-subtle ways yet he persists, i wish i had the will of this guy...

Then there's Olivia, separated and stricken by the loss of his son. She's a painter, and by stereotype, also a recluse, not on equal footing with Finbar though, in fact Olivia is drawn to Finbar, not in a sexual kind of way.. more in a celestial kind of way if you like romanticizing things.. they're kindred spirits, both lost and needing direction..

Finbar parries all this attention directed at him, perhaps it's all too familiar, perhaps it's all too routine, perhaps it's too good to be true. When a guy has been subjected to knowing looks and satiric remarks borne of his short stature, it's easy to understand Finbar's attitude, we feel the risk for him, the risk of opening up, the danger of letting yourself be vulnerable... the film has a certain ebb and flow to it, one moment we finally see Finbar enjoying an unlikely friendship with them, the next one we see him relapse into his silent but deeply-suffering former self... but what is great about this movie is that it is not morose, it has an air of hope and a positive outlook that indeed.. even loneliness is better, when shared with someone..

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