The Station Agent
The Station Agent is a charming film that moves along at a leisurely pace, but is never boring or distracting. It won the Audience Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and has generated a lot of buzz on the film festival circuit, particularly the performance of Peter Dinklage.
Written and directed by Tom McCarthy and starring Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannavale, The Station Agent is essentially the story of three people with nothing in common except their shared solitude, until chance circumstances bring their lives together.
We’re first introduced to Finbar McBride (Dinklage), a man trying to live life on his own terms. He is a dwarf who works as a toy train repairman. When his boss suddenly dies, Fin inherits an old train depot in rural New Jersey, which is no longer in use. As a train buff, it is a fitting environment for him. It’s also desolate, which he craves. Looking only to be left alone, he takes up residence there.
But, much like the station agents that occupied small town depots before him, he finds himself reluctantly becoming enmeshed in the lives of his neighbors, especially Olivia (versatile character actress Patricia Clarkson), a despondent forty-year-old artist struggling with the breakup of her marriage, and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) a thirty-year-old hot-dog vendor with a talent for cooking and an insatiable hunger for conversation – whether anyone wants to talk to him or not. These people are also alone, although not necessarily by their own choosing.
Before long, from this forgotten depot, the mismatched threesome forges an unlikely bond, which ultimately reveals that even isolation is better when it is shared.
It’s gentle, charming, engrossing and touching film, and I highly recommend it. There’s a little bit of sex, which gives it an R rating, but not enough to turn you off to it, since it fits the story and isn’t salacious.
Stars: 4 out of 5
© 2001-2007 Ellen Sarbone. All rights reserved. Email editor@eTraveller.com.