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00673 - THE STATION AGENT

Movie-Hype00673 - THE STATION AGENT

I know a little bit what it’s like to be stared at, whispered about; almost always noticed in passing. Being bigger than almost everyone I run into, you get used to it…to a point. At times I still get defensive, even mad, but for the most part I’ve made my peace.

So I know just a little bit and yet nothing about what it would be like to be a little person. Finbar McBride (wonderfully underplayed by Peter Dinklage) is such a person, a dwarf who’s made his peace with the world that points and stares, even though what he most wants to be is left alone. When Fin’s only friend dies and leaves him half an acre of land in the middle of nowhere, he’s happy to move there. Blessed solitude. (It also helps that there’s a train station there. One that nobody stops at to be sure, but one nonetheless.)

That’s because Fin is also a Train person. I like a lot of things, but I am not into anything the way these Train people are into Trains. Think of Trekkies crossed with those old women who collect Hummel figurines, and you’ll have some idea. I spent some time trying to see if there was a metaphor why Fin would like trains (maybe to feel large and powerful?), but I think that does him and disservice and reduces Fin to his size. He likes trains, and we’ll leave it at that.

Yet even though the movie treats Fin as fully human, you can’t get past his size. Every aspect of Fin’s life is dominated by it, to the point where he moves to nowhere to be left alone. Fin is formally polite, but comes off almost rude in his taciturn nature.

Of course, we’ve all seen Indie movies like this, and we know the loner doesn’t get to be alone. Fin runs into Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a loquacious Cuban guy who’s selling coffee in the middle of nowhere to cover for his sick father. Joe reminds me of a puppy; eternally happy, momentarily hurt when Fin rebuffs his attempts at friendship, but forgets about it three minutes later and is ready to try again. It is impossible to not like Joe, and I’d watch a movie that’s just about him.

Then there’s Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a broken woman who has too fled to get rid of her own life, except she brought it with her. Patricia Clarkson has always managed to be one of the sexiest non-hot women ever, if you follow me. Michelle Williams even shows up for a small role that makes her Oscar Nomination earlier this year not so shocking.

What I like about THE STATION AGENT is how we’re able to follow the lives of these three people without the need for SUDDEN CONFLICT. To be sure there are challenges faced (and perhaps not faced), but that’s not the end-all. We are simply spending time with three people worthy of knowing, but perhaps people you normally wouldn’t give the time of day to.

Sometimes Independent Movies get a bit full of themselves, a self-important air as if they are changing the world. THE STATION AGENT doesn’t do that. It’s quiet, and hums on its own pitch. You can completely understand how a tiny film like this got three Film Actor’s Guild Nominations (including Best Cast!), and cleaned up at Sundance and the Spirit Awards. It’s the kind of film you just want to give a hug to. The day I first rented it I watched it five times, and I watch it every other month since then. It cheers me up to know there are other broken people out there too, people different from the rest of the world, but still worth getting to know.

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