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THE STATION AGENT, 2003
Movie Reviews!

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THE STATION AGENT, 2003
Movie Reviews

Directed by Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale
Review by Nina Katungi



SYNOPSIS:

Fin McBride inherits an abandoned train depot in New Found Land, New Jersey. With nothing holding him back, Fin packs up and heads to discover this new legacy of his. Peace and solitude is what he hopes to find but little does he know that quite the opposite is in store for him.

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REVIEW:

Tom McCarthy did a wonderful job writing and directing this film. He is also recently known for writing and directing the film The Visitor, which I thought was great and well worth a watch too. He definitely has a knack of telling stories in a real and engaging way. As a writer, these are the types of stories that I aspire to write and convey so brilliantly onto the big screen. This is Tom McCarthy’s first feature screenplay and he succeeded above average in the execution. The film was nominated for over twenty awards and won an exceptional amount including Original Screenplay at BAFTA’S 2004 and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2003 (just to name a few) - the awards also include best cast and direction. Every aspect of this film is actually award worthy in my opinion.

Fin (Dinklage) is a dwarf and has grown up feeling bitter and insecure because of it. Most of the people around him have been ignorant and quick to judge so Fin keeps to himself, going about his business and blocking people out in general. Fin is a train enthusiast – he works with trains, watches trains. Trains are pretty much his life until he meets Olivia and Joe.

Olivia (Clarkson) lost her son a few years back and since has had a hard time coping. She’s isolated herself from friends and family, including her husband who leaves because of it. Olivia is an emotional wreck and is merely expressing her pain through her paintings but when she literally almost drives Fin over not once but twice; things take a turn for the better.

Joe (Cannavale) is taking care of his sick father. He opens his father’s mobile café everyday, parking the van in the same spot, which turns out to be outside Fin’s train depot. Joe is a lonely fella and takes up any opportunity to be social and make friends. Joe is a persistent guy and once he puts his mind to something he won’t back down until he succeeds. Joe’s determined to win over Fin’s friendship, and after some time and patience Fin finally opens up to Joe. Joe’s free-spirited, uninhibited personality is refreshing. He is simply who he is and he is what brings the three together.

Each character has a personal problem to deal with. Their friendship helps solve their difficult situations and their lives have become better for it. I like films that are merely honest, down to earth stories. They’re the films that we can relate to. This story is upfront about the issues of Fin being a dwarf. It picks up the good and the bad in people, the ignorance and the inexperienced. I’m fascinated with the way people interact with one another. People are curious, interesting beings – each to their own. There is so much brilliance in these movies – they are just about everyday people dealing with everyday situations. It’s funny. It’s sad. It’s all the emotions you want it to be.

I watched this film a long time ago and it always stuck in my mind. Not precisely the plotline per say, it was more a feeling of satisfaction. After I watch a really good film I’m left happy and complete. The Station Agent is one of those films to me. I can watch all kinds of films, depends on my mood – romantic, funny, thrilling and not that these can’t be good but they just don’t stay with me like this film does.

I watched this film again last week and my reaction was still the same. I was actually angrier with myself that it took me so long to watch this film for the second time if not the third or fourth time already. It was simply good – the tone, the structure, the comedy – it was all good. The characters compliment each other so well and at the same time are individually spectacular. We are all complex human beings and our personalities can decorate any film screen, as long as it is done the right way. The Station Agent is one of those quality films and if you appreciate each others differences as well as each others similarity then this would be the film for you.

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