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Film review: 'Paterson'


"Paterson" seems like the type of movie that makes people scoff and roll their eyes at film critics when we attempt to describe it: Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson, who lives in Paterson, New Jersey. He writes poetry, goes to work, and well, not much else really happens.

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, at his most Jarmusch-y, "Paterson" is a film of incredible warmth and humanity; a sweet, gentle celebration of everyday people. We observe Paterson's daily routine, waking up before his alarm in bed next to his wife, Laura (a wonderful Golshifteh Farahani). He gets up, heads off to work driving the bus, and in his downtime, composes poems, which we hear narrated in Driver's soothing, dulcet tones, and occasionally see in text form written across the screen. When his shift is over, he comes home, spends time with Laura and their bulldog, Marvin, goes to bed, then wakes up and does it all over again. While he's away, Laura immerses herself in her own artistic endeavors, making delicious-looking cupcakes, painting their walls, or learning the guitar.

The repetition of their routine isn't portrayed as the drudgery and quiet desperation of small town life (as we might have seen depicted by any other director). Instead, the film achieves a Zen-like feel for life's natural rhythms. Paterson and his wife are devoted to one another, and Jarmusch remains captivated by these people who find meaning in the simple act of creating art, and their purpose in each other. It's practically euphoric -- a warm hug of a movie that's so delightfully cozy and life-affirming that I wanted nothing more than to curl up inside it and stay there.