It’s about a guy called Paterson who lives in Paterson.
The film, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, stars Adam Driver as, you guessed it, Paterson, a bus-driving poet and Golshifteh Farahani as his stay at home, arty-farty wife, Laura.
And that’s about it, in terms of plot. The story follows Paterson through a week of his life in which he has managed to achieve a melancholic acceptance of his repetitive existence. Everyday he writes poetry before work and during his lunch break and every evening he takes his dog out for a walk and stops by the local bar for a pint.
We follow Paterson though this same sequence from Monday until Friday and we get a glimpse of his interactions with his passengers, co-workers, fellow bar goers and his wife. While these are often funny, not laugh out loud funny but a smile to yourself kind of funny, and generally nicely written with nice subtleties, they’re the basis of the entire film. That’s what this film is about. One guy doing very normal, and tedious things. And that leads to a rather tedious film.
That’s not to say it’s a bad film. On the contrary it’s been getting rave reviews. Everything is done nicely and Adam Driver is brilliant in the lead role and he’s charming to watch but there’s just nothing really to this film, for me. I was expecting something along the lines of Inside Llewyn Davis, one of my favourite films, which is brimmed with interesting, witty, smart and funny characters. But none of the characters in this film interested me. Paterson’s wife is, perhaps, the most annoying, insufferable person I’ve ever had to endure watching for two hours. She’s the sort of person who ‘needs’ to pursue a dream each day to be fulfilled or whatever. It’s usually a new ‘dream’ a day. She needs to be involved in he latest fad. She just comes across as a really pretentious and shallow person and I don’t buy her relationship with Paterson. They seem like such chalk and cheese characters and it feels like Paterson is often annoyed at her impracticality. It feels like he’s humouring her in a patronising way, which I felt was a tad unpleasant to watch. I don’t know if that was intentional, maybe it was. But if it was, there was no resolution to it.
The way I felt about Laura is the way I feel about the entire film, in fact. It was annoying, pretentious and tedious, trying to be cleverer than it actually is. I’m not particularly a fan of poetry but I found the poems that Paterson writes to be uninspired and dull. It’s like he’s just describing things but putting in pauses where there shouldn’t be. It felt like a robot voice which had just recorded individual words which we cut together rather than full sentences. That might appeal to some, but not to me. Is that good poetry? Like I said my knowledge of poetry is next to zilch, so maybe I’m wrong.
You spend the whole film waiting for something to happen and I felt cheated when nothing did. Like I mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with the direction or acting, Adam Driver is fantastic, but I’ve rarely been so bored. I’m just not sure what I was supposed to get out of this. A lot of people have loved it and I wish I did too.
BORING. While technically there is nothing inherently wrong with this film, many people have loved it and Adam Driver is fantastic, I didn’t feel at all engaged with the characters or the story.