As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
Exactly one week in the life of a young man named Paterson of Paterson, New Jersey is presented. He lives an extremely regimented and routinized life, that routine perhaps most vividly displayed by the fact that he is able to wake up at exactly the same time every day without an alarm. That life includes eating Cheerios for breakfast, walking to work carrying his brown bag lunch packed in his lunch pail by his wife Laura, having a casual chat with his colleague Donny before he begins his shift driving the #23 Paterson bus for the local public transit company, walking home where he straightens out the exterior mailbox which somehow during the day gets knocked crooked, eating dinner with Laura and listening to her goings-on of the day, taking Laura's English bulldog Marvin - who he would admit to himself he doesn't much like - out for a walk to his neighborhood bar where he has one and only one beer before walking home with Marvin. There are day to day variations which are often the ... Written by
In "Love Poem", Paterson writes about him and Laura's love for Ohio Blue Tip Matches. This is strange because it doesn't seem like they have a real need for them. Neither of them are shown smoking or lighting candles. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. Do you find poetry in everyday life? What about poets do you envision loners whose lives are filled with angst and suffering? Our lead character here is a pretty normal guy who drives a city bus, has a happy marriage, and walks his dog each evening. He's also a poet and a pretty interesting one.
Writer/director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, 2005) often seems like he is making films for his circle of friends all whom must be much cooler than you and me. This time, however, he takes an opposite approach and brilliantly focuses on a dude that any of us could know. Paterson (Adam Driver) is a New Jersey Transit bus driver who writes poetry based on his observations of life's seemingly minor details (his first poem notes "We have plenty of matches in our house").
You should be forewarned: there are no murders, kidnappings, bank robberies or shootouts. Things move rather deliberately. Also missing are any special effects heck, Adam Driver even got licensed to drive a bus for the role. Instead, we are forced to slow down and see each of the seven days of a week through the eyes and words of Paterson. He observes. He listens. He people watches. He then commits his thoughts to the page and recites them for our benefit. Sometimes he is eavesdropping on bus passengers, while other times he curiously tries to figure out the newest "dream" for his beloved wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). Having the soul of an artist, Laura cloaks her world in a geometric black and white color scheme while energetically bounding from cupcakes to country and western music to cooking as she pursues her place in life.
There are many Jarmusch touches throughout. Paterson the poet actually lives and works in Paterson, New Jersey yep, Paterson from Paterson. The interactions at the neighborhood bar (run by Barry Shabaka Henley) are simultaneously real and surreal right down to the wall of local fame (including Hurricane Carter and Lou Costello, but no mention of Larry Doby). Coincidences abound. A young girl recites her poem to Paterson her writing style, personal book, and delivery make her seem like his poetic doppelganger all while the recurring appearance of numerous sets of twins make us believe in the law of attraction. Lastly, the closest thing to a villain in the film is Paterson's bulldog Marvin, in what plays like a love-hate relationship with the mailbox being center-ring.
Another local Paterson (the city) aspect is Paterson's (the poet) admiration of the works of William Carlos Williams, a poet whose style he emulates. One of the terrific scenes near the end involves a spontaneous interaction between Paterson and town visitor (Masatoshi Nagase) that takes place next to The Great Falls, and serves as a reminder that we should accept who we are, no matter the challenges or lack of glory. This is truly director Jarmusch's ode to the artist/poet in each of us and in ordinary life. Creating art as best we can is a very personal thing, and for some it's a need - while for others it's one of life's simple pleasures. Regardless, a "normal" life with daily routines is not to be scorned, but rather embraced, should you be so fortunate. If you doubt this, Paterson asks, "Would you rather be a fish?" **NOTE: sharp moviegoer eyes will recognize Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, who both had their debut in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (2012).
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