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MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
On DVD and Blu-Ray, Streaming on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Fandango Now and Vudu.
Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Starring Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani Rated R
Paterson is a quiet film of beauty and generosity, filled with warmth, humor and more than a touch of eccentricity. I am placing my summation of this movie right up front because I want to encourage you to spend time with a film that may at first seem to be about not much at all.
Indeed. As Paterson begins we read the word “Monday” on the screen and see the title character (Driver) lying in bed alongside of his wife, Laura (Farahani). He is about to get up for a quick breakfast before heading off for his regular job of driving a city bus in the town of Paterson, New Jersey. His wife will stay at home where she will spend time doing creative things with design (everything from curtains to cupcakes are fair game). After Paterson returns home for the day, the couple will spend some time together until it’s time to take Marvin (Nellie), their bulldog, for a walk. Paterson will stop by the neighborhood bar for one beer and a bit of conversation with the regular customers before coming home to bed.
On Tuesday, the schedule begins again, but what might seem like monotony to some is actually a life of contentment and joy to these two gentle souls. What is the secret to their happiness? Paterson and Laura do not seem to own a television and do not go out of their way to escape reality.
Instead, Paterson and Laura embrace reality. For Paterson is a poet, carrying a notebook with him at all times and writing, rewriting, and revising his poems until they say precisely what’s on his heart. Laura delights in his poetry and is forever encouraging him to find ways in which to share his writing with the world, but Paterson is in no hurry to make a name for himself. But it is the poet’s eye that opens his heart to the people all around him, including those that he encounters everyday on the bus or in the bar, people of all ages, nationalities and religions. Paterson also finds time to eat his lunch on a bench alongside the natural beauty of the Great Falls of the Passaic River. Before the week is through, he will also have conversations with a couple of other everyday poets in his midst.
What Paterson tries to do (and I believe that it accomplishes this very well) is to encourage the viewer to observe simplicity with a poet’s eye. As the writer, Stephen King once said: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” Paterson wakes up and goes to work; inspiration finds him. I felt blessed to spend a couple of hours with this unassuming and beautiful soul whose life, marriage and town shine a bit brighter, touched by the hand of God.
Five halos: There is beauty and poetry to be discovered every day, in this celebratory film.
One pitchfork: For saying the F-Bomb briefly a few times, with no malice aforethought.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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