Cannes: Paterson: Wonderful celebration of the everyday life and the beauty of simplicity



The heartwarming and wonderful dramedy Paterson with Adam Driver in the lead is one of two films Jim Jarmusch debuted in Cannes during the festival this year. The second is the documentary on The Stooges, Gimme Danger, playing in the Midnight Screening’s section. Like many of the directors featured in Cannes this year, Jarmusch is also no stranger to the Croisette. His film Broken Flowers won the Grand Prix in 2005 while Mystery Train and Only Lovers Left Alive screened in the official competition back in 1989 and 2013 respectively.

Paterson highlights the love for poetry and a nostalgia of sorts for a past world.

Paterson (Adam Driver) is a bus driver in the city of the same name: Paterson, New Jersey. His life is very well-structured and follows a simple, everyday routine. He usually wakes up around the same time between 6:00 am and 6:30 am without setting an alarm and his clothes for the day are already neatly folded on a chair next to his wardrobe. He gets up and eats a bowl of Cheerios and then leaves for work with his metal lunchbox his wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) prepared for him and decorated with a picture of hers. At work he drives his daily route and observes the city as it passes by through his windshield and listens to his passenger’s conversations. When he finishes at 6 pm he goes back home to have dinner with his wife, takes their English bulldog Marvin for a walk and stops at a corner bar where he drinks one beer while talking to the bartender and owner Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley) and other regulars before he goes back home again.

paterson_2-1Laura’s world on the contrary is constantly changing, although she is not working and usually stays at home during the day. Yet, new dreams and ideas for new projects come to her almost daily. She is a very creative soul and likes to play music, bake and decorate cupcakes and paint whatever she feels like that day – whether it is painting over the window curtains, the shower curtains or the pillows on their couch. She has her own personal style and everything is painted in black and white geometric patterns.

Paterson and Laura are portrayed as a very loving and cute couple. They love and respect each other deeply. He supports her dreams – which includes for example learning how to play the guitar so she can become a famous country singer one day – while she tries to encourage him to share his secret passion for poetry with the world. Whenever he has some spare time, Paterson sits down and scribbles his simple but beautiful and mostly non-rhyming poems into his notebook. They are usually reflecting the ordinary, everyday life and as Paterson writes them down, the audience can hear the words and read them at the same time as they are also written down on the screen. Laura asks him to do copies of his poetry notebook so he can publish them someday because she thinks that his poems are worth to be read by a much larger audience than just her.

Paterson functions as a wonderful celebration of the everyday life and the beauty of simplicity.

Paterson highlights the love for poetry and a nostalgia of sorts for a past world. Paterson’s poems are handwritten and Paterson rejects the idea of owning a smartphone for example. We never see any digital or technical devises anywhere and even the bar owner refuses to install TV screens at his bar and still prefers to use an old fashioned jukebox to play music. In general, Paterson remains quite simple which is not only reflected in its set design and style but its overall calm atmosphere that is kept steady throughout the entire film.

Jarmusch’s Paterson is a slow paced and quiet film with a condensed but traditional narrative structure as it unfolds over the course of one week. It is a very detailed and beautiful observation of daily life. There is only few conflict and no character development at all, which would be unnecessary in this case anyways as Paterson functions as a wonderful celebration of the everyday life and the beauty of simplicity.

8.5 Great

Paterson is a wonderful, very detailed and sweet depiction of the daily life of a bus driver/secret poet and his loving wife.

  • 8.5

About Author

I’m a German based passionate film lover with main interests in contemporary, arthouse and independent cinema. I love the cinematic experience on screen, unconventional storytelling and getting carried away by it. Besides film, I am also interested in general pop culture and addicted to way too many TV shows I never seem to be able to catch up on.