Paterson ★★★★★

I missed Paterson at the NY Film Festival earlier this year. I saw Jarmusch's Iggy Pop documentary, and his Q&A with Iggy was fun to witness (Iggy even makes a small appearance in this film). Much like Gimme Danger, which talked a lot about Detroit's role in the band's formation, Paterson is interested in what might be so special about Paterson, NJ that it has produced a handful of American folk heroes. I found that, otherwise minor, plot line sort of interesting.

The most important reason, however, to go see this film is to get a sense of the meditative feeling, the calm and contentment that exists deep within its protagonist. Jarmusch has created a character, like Casey Affleck's Lee in Manchester by the Sea, who his quiet, contemplative, but instead of being defined by grief, he is defined by generosity of spirit and an artistic soul. I know far more Patersons from my small-town upbringing than I know Lees.

By keeping the scale and ambition of this film contained, Jarmusch succeeds in bringing emotional weight to an otherwise small, mundane, climax scene. The final sequence, then, is a wonderful way to wrap up the film.

I should also briefly mention how well Jarmusch captures the art of writing and re-writing. Seeing poems take shape over the course of the film was a rewarding experience in and of itself.