As many a synopsis will read: Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson in Paterson, New Jersey. But the metaphysical poetics don’t stop there in Jim Jarmusch’s latest, which is part aesthetically softspoken rumination on everyday life, part ode to the city which bears its name. Over the course of a week we follow Paterson’s simple daily routine, methodically and repetitiously, like the stanzas of a poem by William Carlos Williams – a source of inspiration for Driver’s character, who writes poetry on the side. It could easily feel contrived were it not for the script’s overwhelming sense of wide-eyed curiosity and humbleness of tone, reflected in Driver’s modest performance. Paterson’s endearingly abstract verses (actually written by poet Ron Padgett) contemplate ageing and love via the dimensions of a shoebox and a box of blue-tip matches. Beauty comes not in broad strokes, the movie seems to say, but in the insignificant detail of our daily lives.
Paterson | Directed by Jim Jarmusch (USA, 2016) with Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani. Starts November 17
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