The Station Agent
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Winner of 2003 Sundance Film Festival awards, The Station Agent stars Emmy Award winner Patricia Clarkson (TV's Six Feet Under, Far From Heaven), Peter Dinklage (Elf) and Bobby Cannavale (TV's 24, Third Watch) in a comedy about friendship that will have you smiling long after the final credits. Fin McBride (Dinklage), a loner with a passion for trains, inherits an abandoned train station in the middle of nowhere a place that suits him just fine because all he wants is to be alone. But that is not to be. Soon after moving in, he discovers his isolated depot is more like Grand Central Station. There's Olivia (Clarkson), a distracted and troubled artist, and Joe (Cannavale)j, a friendly Cuban with an insatiable hunger for conversation. With absolutely nothing in common, they find their isolated lives coming together in a friendship none of them could foresee.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 152
- Fresh: 144
- Rotten: 8
- Average Rating: 8.0/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The Station Agent never leaves its sleepy patch of New Jersey. But when it's over, you know you've been somewhere.
Fresh: As touching and original a movie as you're likely to see this year.
Fresh: Dinklage's face and demeanor, his sense of solitude, ballasts some of the film's loonier episodes. There's always something on his mind, and you're always wondering what it is.
Fresh: Mr. Dinklage projects both size and intelligence in the fascinating reticence of his face.
Training an off-track friendship
This is a movie about characters, people who don't quite fit. Everyone in the movie, from the three main roles to the supporting standouts to the bit parts with speaking roles all has something to do to catch your attention. This isn't a movie with a flash-bang plot. It's a study of what happens between people. It has plenty of room for giggles, chuckles, and quirky things going on, so that you get to the more serious things underneath without being hit over the head with them.
Peter Dinklage as Finbar McBride has the acting chops to steal every scene while always being understated and authentic. He doesn't have to overdo it to hold your interest. The one time he could have gone over the top, he instead is just right and in character for the man he's portraying. ("Here I am! Take a look!" The line has more than just one meaning.) The movie has plenty to say, but it doesn't preach. It shows what it wants to get across.
Olivia, the accident prone artist, has reasons why she acts the way she does. And what an introduction. You come to learn more about her as the movie goes on.
Joe, the talkative and lonely meal truck (coffee, hot dogs, etc.) guy, who insists on making friends, gets across his enthusiasm and warmth, while we also get that he cares about his papi, his pops, his father who's older and sick.
There is also a standout in the little girl, Cloe, who is at first shy, then a good friend and intelligent girl. She does a good job with the role and comes across as genuine in the part. Her role is important as a motivator, a turning point, so don't discount it. The part is written and acted true to how a girl would really be; not too adult or too cutesy, but just right.
Emily, the young librarian; the convenience store lady; the jerk friends and boyfriend; even the barmaid / owner; and the teacher and school kids, all have moments to shine in their roles.
This movie is a quiet little film, but there's more going on than what's on the surface. This was recommended to me by friends, and I am so glad they did.
I am so glad to see a movie in which a dwarf or little person and other "minorities" are treated as real, flesh and blood people, with real thoughts and feelings and something to contribute, and not just for shock value, or laughs, or pity. The filmmakers and writer and actors did more to show that a dwarf or little person, as well as other people in the story, are real people, and not misfits. In this movie, practically everyone is a "misfit" or "outsider" or "minority" in some way, yet they're all there to add something to the story, to spice it up, without overpowering it.
This movie is also not afraid of showing that people do have bad times in life, but they also have good times and worth. The movie isn't afraid to be honest about that, or to find the humor or the pathos in things, sometimes simultaneously. At a few times, an actor will be lost in thought or feelings and look right at the camera at the audience, but not in an artificial way. It fits. They could get melodramatic or hit us over the head with a "message." Instead, they go for subtle, and show us through the words and actions, what is going on inside these people's heads, and around them.
See and hear the movie. There are lots of reasons why it has such high reviews. Worth a watch and worth buying, absolutely.
Keeping it on track
How do you find yourself when you're not even looking? You're life is derailed and you don't even know it.
Jump on and take this enjoyable ride with three of the most unlikely friends. The Station Agent is a look into the fish bowl at what it takes to become a welcomed travel companion.
There is nothing over the top or unrealistic and the natural approach from the actors just leaves you rooting on the characters and hoping for something good for them all.
Don't miss this train. You'll enoy the leisurely ride.
Worth every penny, every minute
I do not have time to write an analysis of the film to explain to you why you will not regret the time and money spent on this film. Suffice it to say that it is gently heartfelt, gently hilarious, and as true and sincere a film as you could ever see. It's not a chick flick or a guy flick. It's a slice of humanity that you will want to savor repeatedly, especially at the end of one of those days that make you question why you bother breathing.