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Overall Rating
4.39

Awesome: 41.75%
Worth A Look55.34%
Just Average: 2.91%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

9 reviews, 49 user ratings


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Station Agent, The
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by Dennis Swennumson

"An honest film unfortunately overlooked."
4 stars

“The Station Agent” is about three people experiencing their own unique stages of loneliness. Considering one of its overall themes of kindness, the film could have easily played like a TV news magazine segment or worse, a syndicated talk show about how we can “understand” those different from “normal” people. Thankfully writer-director Thomas McCarthy aims higher, he gives the film an outright feeling of honesty devoid of the cheesiness that other movies and TV shows usually present when dealing with similar subject matter. “The Station Agent” is born from the notion that the small things in life are true avenues to happiness.

Peter Dinklage (most memorable as the children’s book author in “Elf”) plays Fin McBride, a man with a passionate fascination for trains who inherits an old train depot. Every outing for Fin feels like a circus expedition, people can’t get over the sight of his dwarfism. When his employer and only friend dies, leaving him the depot, he sees it as a good chance for escape into self-appointed solitude. His plan ultimately backfires; he eventually meets the man running the neighboring coffee and hot dog stand, and reluctantly begins a simple friendship. Fin also meets the acquaintance of a woman named Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) through a chance and potentially dangerous encounter- twice. The plot moves forward as we watch their collective friendship develop as they progress past their initial assumptions and first impressions.

We learn Olivia is an artist, coping with the separation from her husband she still loves. Fin is a quiet kind of character whose feelings can be read from his demeanor (credit Dinklage’s great performance), Joe is more outspoken and energetic but she is the more mysterious personality in the group. She’s the motherly figure to balance out the sharp contrast between Joe and Fin. Apparently they get along fine, enjoying normal dinners and mastering the hobby of train chasing. These aren’t happy go lucky people however; when certain questions about the dynamics of the relationships are brought to attention they become defensive and uncomfortable. These are characters that all know the pain of disappointment and rejection and are more than cautious to experience it again. All three leads, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Clarkson and Peter Dinklage achieve noteworthy performances.

There’s something special in Peter Dinklage, this is an actor who unfortunately seems all too familiar with the lack sensitivity society gives the character he plays. He speaks lines like “I’m just a normal, boring person,” with an almost autobiographical tone. The film repeatedly examines the issue of Fin’s physical stature, but where other movies would typically try to push an agenda with an outright feeling of urgency, “The Station Agent” simply portrays one man’s experiences with a society that most often lacks understanding. The movie’s quality is affirmed in a scene that takes place in a bar could have easily ended with a sense of blatant manipulation, but McCarthy fortunately steers clear of a resolution that most would expect.

“The Station Agent” is an inherently sad movie with doses of optimism throughout, the kind of optimism that many of us need to keep going.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6913&reviewer=338
originally posted: 07/04/04 19:18:17
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This film is available for download or online viewing at CinemaNow.com For more in the CinemaNow.com series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/15/18 Greg I've watched this movie probably 5 times over the years And I'll watch it again 5 stars
10/05/10 PAUL SHORTT OBSERVANT AND THOUGHTFUL 3 stars
8/23/10 RLan a decent movie with a solid cast but it was slow at times. 3 stars
11/14/09 Liberty Man. Ditto to Annie G said. A pleasure to watch 4 stars
9/13/08 Annie G Extremely enjoyable film about friendship and life. 5 stars
3/02/08 ladavies Great performances, interesting characters. Great movie! 5 stars
12/29/07 David Absolute brilliance. You owe it to yourself to at least give this film a chance. 5 stars
4/28/07 Geraldine Lovely. And fun to watch back-to-back with Little Miss Sunshine. 5 stars
2/28/07 Matt Craven So good... but what ever happened with the librarian? What was the point of her role? 4 stars
5/15/06 Indrid Cold Hits all the right indie notes and almost none of the wrong ones. Dinklage is brilliant. 4 stars
8/29/05 ES Interesting, some comedy, sympathic main character 4 stars
8/14/05 Irene A truly wonderful movie. 5 stars
8/06/05 Phil M. Aficionado Just wish some of the scenes had played out a little longer; otherwise, great 4 stars
4/07/05 Rocco L Nazzaro Very good storyline about strangers that become friends. 4 stars
1/30/05 Darryl Wonderful characters and performances. A true gem. 5 stars
1/21/05 Tjalda L. Schiel Wonderful stuff. 5 stars
1/15/05 Jeff Anderson LIVING IN OBLIVION'S scene stealing Peter Dinklage is absolutely terrific in this movie! 5 stars
12/30/04 Landshark i like my trains straight , no chaser 4 stars
12/22/04 Michael O'Connor This is a great story. A MUST see film! 5 stars
12/16/04 Carl Utterback Truly funny and unforced. 5 stars
11/26/04 DM Not bad at all 4 stars
10/06/04 Rob P S Beautifully written and acted. 5 stars
9/28/04 Harry D A true gem. Fin's deadpan presence & honest dialogue won me over. 5 stars
8/09/04 Brian Mckay One of those rare films that I wish had gone on for longer. 4 stars
7/31/04 The Talking Elbow A refreshing movie which teaches a few good lessons. 4 stars
7/20/04 Danny Smith Gently humorous 4 stars
6/30/04 AlonsoGo Made me squirm but left a lasting grin on my face 4 stars
6/24/04 iulia pittman This is a very beautiful movie! 5 stars
5/23/04 Alan Liddle With the plot it should have shockin', but it was Great! 5 stars
4/16/04 alien assassin A film like this is worth a hundred "mainstream" flicks 5 stars
3/18/04 Fennie Mao Great movie for the whole family to enjoy. 4 stars
3/18/04 Jim Hollingsworth Great movie! It had me looking inside as much as at the movie! 5 stars
2/20/04 Matthew Smith a delightful film with plenty if heartfelt moments and very funny scenes 5 stars
2/18/04 cj Addictive! - a wonderful movie to see again and again. 5 stars
2/09/04 Liz Skipper Best picture I've seen since "The Way Home" [Korean] last year. So natural...so wonderful! 5 stars
1/20/04 Betty White Really good cast and an engaging storyline; what more can u ask for? 5 stars
1/17/04 Flora Durfee Great! One flaw was too much cigarette smoking, which wasn't necessary in telling the story 4 stars
12/27/03 Lorrie Rabin Wonderful movie! 5 stars
11/18/03 malcolm a pleasant little movie--a valuable lesson in minimalism 3 stars
11/06/03 Cameron Slick A small well-made film that explores loneliness very well. 4 stars
11/05/03 Ted A sensitive film to be enjoyed by all 5 stars
10/27/03 Deanna Fountain outstanding 5 stars
10/04/03 HH The best film I have seen so far this year 5 stars
9/17/03 Jeff Goldman A Masterpiece 5 stars
9/15/03 Hal Klegen The best film I saw all year! 5 stars
9/15/03 Nancy James Excellent!!!! 5 stars
9/15/03 April Connors Wonderful film!! 5 stars
9/10/03 Nick Hatalski Awesome film - A Must See 5 stars
7/19/03 Elizabeth Roussel A MUST SEE! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Oct-2003 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Feb-2004




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