Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey - they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, he writes poetry into a notebook; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer; he goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura's world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily. The film quietly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.
On Empire podcast #237, Adam Driver revealed that he underwent training and became a licensed bus driver. He wanted to be able to be on "auto pilot" while driving the bus. It also meant that the film could feature more authentic footage opening up the possibilities for a greater variety of camera shots. He was taught over a period of three months in Queens, New York City, passing the test one week before filming began. See more »
It's made clear that Paterson doesn't own or use a cel phone, but when he has to borrow one, he dials it using his thumbs. A person not used to texting on a cel phone would use his index finger to dial. See more »
It's not so easy to say what 'Paterson' is about. It's about a week in the life of a bus driver - that's the easy answer. A week in which not much happens, by the way. But it's also about poetry: the bus driver writes poems while waiting behind the wheel. It's about happiness: the film is drenched in it. And about simplicity: the bus driver's life is extremely simple. He wakes up at about quarter past six, kisses his sleeping wife, eats a cereal breakfast, walks to the bus garage, drives his bus, and returns home to the evening meal his wife has prepared for him.
Jim Jarmusch shows this seven times: once for each day in the week. But there are slight differences: sometimes he wakes up at half pas six, his wife's position in bed is different each day (once she's not there because she got up before him), the talk at dinner depends on the events of the day. And small things happen every day: there's an incident at the local pub, the bus breaks down, his wife sells cupcakes at the farmer's market.
When the average Hollywood blockbuster is a roller-coaster ride, this film is a quiet walk in the woods. Some people may find it boring. I didn't. 'Paterson' is a special film, because it has a very rare characteristic: it's not about anything in particular. Or is it about life itself? It's up to the viewer to decide.
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