Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What-to-Watch Wednesday: The Station Agent (2003)

My plan is that my "What-to-Watch" entries will be an extension of my previous "Overlooked Movies" posts from Facebook where I sought to highlight movies I have encountered and liked that many people probably haven't heard of for one reason or another.  They aren't intended to be movie reviews in the strictest sense namely because I think there are more than enough reviewers online and in print, and I don't think I have anything particularly brilliant or revelatory to add to the film criticism discourse.  No, I merely want to be the guy who, from time to time, may recommend a pretty good movie.

Oh, and I've given myself the arbitrary deadline of offering up a new suggestion every Wednesday.  Mainly because I like the alliterative title.  So, yeah, we'll see how that goes.

Anyway, let's get started...

What-to-Watch Wednesday: The Station Agent

I have a predilection for small, quiet films.  And, it doesn't get much smaller and quieter than The Station Agent.  There are no big moments here.  No suspenseful plot twists.  Certainly no action sequences.  And, no emotionally overwrought performances from the actors.  Indeed, most of the time the actors never raise their voices above the level of gentle conversation.

What The Station Agent does offer is a portrait of the friendship formed by three lonely individuals brought together by the separate circumstances of their lives.  There is Fin (played by Peter Dinklage), a train enthusiast who inherits an abandoned train depot in a small New Jersey town.  His desire for quiet isolation is continuously interrupted by the lonely Joe (Bobby Canavale), who parks his snack truck next door to the train depot.  They are eventually joined by Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), and soon the three form a comfortable friendship, despite Fin's initial reluctance.

It doesn't end there.  There is a burgeoning romance between Fin and Emily, a local librarian.  We get to see why Fin prefers to be alone even though he is incredibly lonely.  And, we learn more about trains that any of us thought we ever wanted to know.  But, at the center of this gem of a movie are the performances of the three lead actors and the gentle way they depict the friendship of these very isolated and damaged people.  A fine, fine film.

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