The Moving Poetry of the Mundane: Paterson Review

Jim Jarmusch is one of the few directors that I’d refer to as melancholic.

His films usually don’t have any conflict and are driven through minor conflicts that the characters find themselves in. While not much happens you find a sense of realism to it, whether you like it or not.

Out of the few films I’ve seen from him, Paterson might be my favorite.

Never has a film put me in such a calm mood and had me relate to the characters conflicts. 

We follow an entire week in the life of Paterson, a bus driver and occasional poet, as he goes through the daily routines of life.


Paterson has a tight routine that he barely break where he wakes up, eats breakfast, drives the bus around Paterson, New Jersey, go to his wife, Laura, and discuss his day with her, and walk his dog, Marvin, to the local bar he frequents.

Although there are few bumps along the way, what really makes Paterson interesting is how Jarmusch tells us the thoughts of our main character through his routine and his poems.

You can tell slight details about his character just by certain intricacies he does. The way he leaves his clothes out shows how deliberate and prepared he is and the attentiveness he has towards his wife that shows us their tight connection.

Paterson is someone that cares for people and will be flexible with others to make them feel better.

What really makes this world feel alive is the actors and how they interact with environments. Adam Driver gives his best performance in Paterson.

Driver knows Paterson like the back of his hand and is able to convey a strong but humble presence throughout the film.

Golshifteh Farahani gives a wonderful and kind performance as Paterson’s wife. She’s eccentric and wants to try new and different things that might not work extremely well but Paterson will be there to support her no matter what.


Driver and Farahani play off each other extremely well as their chemistry speaks volumes to the audience. They understand each other’s needs and want what’s best for the other. I love that about them.

The lead performances aren’t the only ones that stand out about Paterson.

Each background character in the film feels fleshed out and helps flesh out the world of Paterson, New Jersey.

We see different kinds of people that only worry about their own problems and Paterson is only peering at a very small piece of their life when driving toward their destination.

I really liked the inclusion of the boy and girl from Moonrise Kingdom being in one brief scene. I’m still amazed at how simple each character is but how in depth they are written.

Paterson is Jarmusch’s prettiest film I’ve seen from him.

While his earlier films have a distinct style they feel very grungy and showing a dirty side of life that isn’t show, which works well for what it’s going for; Jarmusch shoots the city of Paterson as a place that looks old but beautiful.

From the many shots of waterfalls and the streets Paterson is able to balance a slight grunge with a slight beauty. One of the more distinct things about Paterson that help make it stand out.

Paterson is a film that needs to be watched by everyone.


The characters and stories are universal to everyone as their stories that everyone has gone through and Adam Driver should definitely get an Oscar nomination for his work here.

Paterson is a man that we should all aspire to be and Jarmusch makes a film we should all aspire to look up and live in.

★★★★½ Poetic and Mundane in the best ways, Paterson is a story that will feel universal to everyone who watches it. Paterson is a film for any generation.

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