Paterson – Movie Review – Four out of Four stars
This movie is a true indie classic in the making. It is subtle, sincere, beautiful, tender, honest, overwhelmingly artistic and sensitive to the love in us all. The movie presents its world as the day to day life of a young couple, their friends, their coworkers; all of their ambitions and aims. The plot line and arc are beautifully masked by the straight-forward and unartistic presentation of the moments in their lives, it looks like life is simply unfolding. It seems like nothing is happening, there is no formula. We are shown all the mundane, all the silly, all the seemingly pointless events in life but it all adds up to something very special.
We start to see what the characters love, what they truly love in life and this becomes the crux of the tragedy in the movie. Each character has an ambition, something they are working towards, something small and humble, but a small sadness is in all of them. A small desperation is at the root of all of them, but a love as well, a passion and focus. And then the tragic climax hits, so seemingly small in magnitude compared to the tragedies of other dramas but because of how real the characters have become, how much we feel like we know them and care about them, it becomes utterly heartbreaking. It is heartbreaking out of this love we feel, not out of any sort of pity, fear or resentment. We just want the best for these characters and the main character especially. We see and know how much his work means to him, all this love, and to see the tragedy hit… it’s overwhelmingly painful.
Nothing is ever melodramatic in this movie and that lack of melodrama drags us infinitely closer into these character’s lives. Other movies we see from pluto, this one we watch from inside their hearts. These characters become real, flesh and blood, they feel real. By the end of the movie we are still left somewhat in mourning. Of course life goes on, but we are not given black and white options for how to move forward. We are given pain and love at the same time. We are given sorrow and strength at the same time.
The movie is tender, beautiful, subtle and honest with characters who have zero self-consciousness in them. It feels like life, all the awkward, all the beauty, all the heartbreak, all the charge to grow.