22 October 2016 | Raven-1969
Alluring, Charming, Unforgettable
From reflections in a puddle, cardinals singing, waterfalls, a harlequin guitar, shadows, designer cupcakes and more, the love of a creative and happy couple spills over the small town of Paterson, New Jersey. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. Paterson, who shares his name with the community at large, is a bus driver. The daily bus route takes him through the heart of town where Paterson overhears intriguing conversations, records observations in his notebook, generates poems and opens lunchbox surprises from his lovely and artistic wife, Laura. The couple's chemistry, expressed in kisses, constant conversation, cheer and trust, is remarkable. "She understands me really well," says Paterson. Lucky guy. Lucky girl. The attractiveness, talent, color and charm of Laura and Paterson is infused in everything they do including Paterson's nightly tavern visits, the plain yet peculiar meals they have together, waking up in the morning and walking the dog.
Even in all its outward simplicity, there is astonishing and wonderful depth to the film characters, scenes, themes and conversations. This artistic sensibility that is infused in everyday life, is something I loved so much about Japan and Paterson shows what this imaginative awareness looks like in small town North America. Truly there is inspiration and beauty everywhere. While the film delves into music, paintings and other mediums, its main artistic focus is on poetry. There are nods to the poetry of William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens and others. The poems Paterson comes up with in his jaunts around town are brilliant and beautiful. A box of Blue tip matches inspires, rather sparks, a love poem. A poem called Another One is about seeing other dimensions, which is what this incredible film encourages itself.
Paterson is delightfully layered with surprising wisdom, complexity, diversity and humor at every turn. Twins make appearances every so often, for example, to remind us of one of the film themes; there is always someone out there like us that matches our hearts, and we are never really alone. Articles and images on a tavern wall take us to other dimensions in time in an instant. The on-screen chemistry between actors Adam Driver (Paterson) and Golshifteh Farahani (Laura) is critical to the film, and they are more than up to the task. They are outstanding, alluring and entirely convincing. The compassion and charm of this film is unforgettable. It reminds us that love and splendor spring from the unlikeliest of places. Seen at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.