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The Station Agent tells a story about a dwarf, named Finbar. Fin, who
has been laughed at and teased for most of his life, actually lives a
banal and routine life working at a hobby train store. He seems
disinterested in life, passing the days without much excitement or
passion. His friend suddenly dies and yet Fin shows no signs of
sadness. He inherits a train station depot in New Foundland and leaves
his little town for a different life in New Foundland. At first it
appears he may find a life of solitude but Fin meets Joe and Olivia.
The movie revolves around the three main characters Fin, Joe, and
Olivia and the relationship between the three characters.
Joe, the talkative and over friendly Cuban, is the first person Fin meets in the new town. Joe, the hot dog vendor, quickly tries to get to know Fin. His first conversation with Fin was short, as Fin was not interested in any chit chat. Joe's character is rather clingy and persistent and considers his relationship with Fin to be much closer than Fin perceives it to be. He becomes attached to Fin very quickly. Furthermore, he goes out of his way to seek approval and become friends with Fin. At times it seems that he has a dependent personality. Nonetheless, he is a very social person who's always trying to be the center of attention. At certain times he gets quite worked up and gets over excited. Joe is a character that needs to be liked and desperately needs attention.
Joe also has problems at home. But his character does not show it. On more than one occasion Joe has to rush home to take care of his father and is not able to completely live his own life. He has to leave in the middle of a meal and furthermore he has to bail on Fin at the bar. It is possible his talkative behavior is related to his family situation. Joe seems to be annoyed and disinterested by his own friends. Besides his father, Joe does not have many people to talk to until Fin comes into the picture. There is no evidence of his mother or any siblings so it seems that he is the only one taking care of his father, which could lead to stress and depression. However there is not evidence to prove that he is suffering from any actual stress.
And in the middle of all of this, Fin meets Olivia, the frantic, stressed out and depressed painter. She is perhaps traumatized and suffers from depression due to the death of her own child. It's possible that Olivia blames herself for the death of her own child. On top of that, her marriage is in shambles. She's separated from her husband and the relationship only goes downhill. Her character is full of problems.
Olivia is not a very social person. She is unwilling to answer phone calls or to even face her husbands. She escaped from Princeton in order to spare herself from being pitied by everyone because her son died. With all her problems piling up it, the situation sets her up for a mental breakdown. After her husband leaves her she refuses to see anyone including Fin and Joe. Olivia is trying to avoid the world and escape from criticism and shame which is why she moved to Newfoundland in the first place. The scene where Olivia looks at herself in the mirror pensively shows that Olivia is judging herself and she does not satisfied, not only with her body but perhaps the situation that she's in.
In the beginning of the movie, Fin barely smiles or shows any signs of emotion. His character is indifferent and does not show any signs of joy or happiness. Fin has endured years of being treated like a specimen or a circus animal. Olivia's breakdown is followed by Fin's breakdown. Fin goes to the bar to get wasted and screams at everyone at the bar to look at him. Fin is aware that he is being watched and talked about and perhaps he is quite paranoid about it as well. Fin doesn't seem to be in any close relationships nor does he seem to want to be in any close relationships. He doesn't seem to have any family either. And he always chooses to do things alone than with others. Life does not seem very pleasurable for him. His character is quite detached. However Fin's character evolves as his relationship with Joe and Olivia develops.
By the end of the movie, the viewer learns that all three characters are more than what they appear to be. The movie does a good job at portraying the complex lives of the three characters. This movie does a good job at showing how Fin suffers from being a dwarf and how Olivia suffers in her misery. The ending is not too climatic which only makes it more realistic.