THE STATION AGENT is a miniature masterpiece. Director Tom McCarthy has achieved on a small budget, rapid sequence filming, and no frills media use, a film that proves that this art form is alive and well right here in the US. The story is simple but cogent: Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage) is a dwarf who has been working as a model train maker for an African American store owner Henry Styles (Paul Benjamin), one of the few people that treats him without prejudice. Their relationship is gentle but supportive. Henry literally drops dead and Fin discovers he is the sole heir in Henry's will: Fin now owns a dilapidated train depot in Newfoundland, NJ. Having nowhere else to go, Fin moves into his new home, seeking solitude from the world of ignorantly derisive people. But parked in front of his space is a Hot Dog and Coffee wagon operated by garrulous Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a warmly friendly guy who wants to hangout with Fin. Fin also encounters the slightly flighty artist Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) who after two 'accidental encounters' on the highway seeks out Fin also. In his attempt to foster anonymity Fin avoids these new would-be friends, spends time at the local library reading about his passion - trains - and encounters the fragile librarian Emily (Michelle Williams) who also finds him strangely attractive. Another "invader" into his space is a young African American girl Cleo (Raven Goodwin) who simply wants to understand Fin's life and plight. The story is simply the communication that grows among these disparate people, each needy, each with occult compassion trying to surface. This interaction is all there is to the 88-minute film, but in its brevity and spare dialogue we are drawn into the lives of these fragile folk to the point that saying goodbye to them at the end is heartrending. What a cast! Dinklage, Clarkson, Cannavale, and Williams are as fine as they come, creating as much character with body language and lingering looks than with verbiage. An absolutely first rate film in every aspect.
This is a film from 2003, it must have passed me by when new, and to be honest I only really added to my love film list because it had Peter Dinklage (a midget actor of some distinction) in it. I can't remember seeing a film where one of gods magical little folk was cast in the leading role (I wont accept Warwick Davis in WILLOW - fantasy films don't count). The Station agent is a charming film, a well observed look at how … more
Fin (Peter Dinklage) is a middle-aged train buff and a dwarf who has been ridiculed his whole life and has no friends. He moves into an abandoned train station, ready to spend the rest of his life alone, but slowly forms friendships with a grieving woman (Patricia Clarkson), an outgoing hot dog man (Bobby Cannavale), and a young librarian (Michelle Williams). What a wonderful movie this is! The story is heartwarming and the strong cast is excellent in well-developed roles. … more
`The Station Agent' is one of those rare movies that lingers through your memory long after having watched it. Not since `Lars and the Real Girl' have I felt this way about a quirky independent film where you fall in love with the characters and marvel at the warmth and eccentricity they elicit. The movie starts with Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage, `In Bruges') a dwarf (at least that's the term he prefers, so I'll go along with him) who works as a fix-it man at a used goods … more
This may well be my second favorite movie ever. Certainly in the top five. Can I explain why? I'm not sure that I can. An attempt: it appeals to the small person inside every single one of us. The one that never quite fits. The one that takes a beating and keeps on ticking. The one that lies down under a train and fails even at that. The one that paints half finished children for the eternal loss that never heals. The one that keeps on knocking until the door finally opens. The one that drinks alone … more
Finbar McBride is a dwarf. He works with his aging boss at the Golden Spike, a shop for model railroad and train enthusiasts. His boss dies suddenly leavin Fin a dilapidated old train station in the middle of nowhere New Jersey. The story revolves around the lonely Fin, the lonely Joe who operates a hot dog truck, the lonely Olivia grieving over her lost child and marriage and Emily, the librarian, who is lonely in a different way. It's a stark little … more
I love movies like this where the characters are off-beat but totally believable. The three main characters are all somewhat displaced, with Fin, the "little person," inheriting a train station in the middle of nowhere; Olivia staying at a "get-away" home purchased by her husband before he "got away" and still grieving the sudden death of her young son; and Joe, the chatty hot-dog vendor who loves to talk and cook, who has returned to care for his ailing father and run his vending truck. These three … more
We've had this movie for the last month, always putting off watching it for one reason or another. It is a very understated movie, with much of the action never commented on directly in the movie, but left up for the viewer to figure out. The plot is simple: Finbar McBride is a dwarf who loses his job when his best friend and boss suddenly dies, leaving him with a train depot in his will. Moving out to the small town where the depot is, all he wants to do is be left alone, but a combination of the … more
Taken out of context, the premise for THE STATION AGENT could be the set-up for a great joke: a dwarf who used to be a train engineer and worked at a model train store inherits an old train station near Newfoundland, New Jersey and decides to live a life of solitude and makes it his permanent residence but a pesty Cuban hot-dog vendor and a beautiful female artist won't let him live in peace. It sounds like a comedy, but THE STATION AGENT isn't a comedy. Instead, it's a smart and slightly quirky … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
A strong ensemble and director Tom McCarthy's sweetly low-key observations make Sundance faveThe Station Agenta treat. The film revolves around a reserved, somber dwarf (Peter Dinklage, immortalized by his brilliant ticked-off tirade inLiving in Oblivion), a train enthusiast who inherits a small depot in rural New Jersey. He makes friends, somewhat reluctantly, with a group of eccentric locals: the guy at the coffee stand (buoyant Bobby Cannavale), an artist (Patricia Clarkson, impeccable as usual), a librarian (Michelle Williams). A few of the plot strands feel forced, but whenever the actors are simply playing off each other with McCarthy's nicely understated dialogue--which is most of the time--it ambles along winningly. You'll also learn more than you ever thought you'd want to know about trains. The key is Dinklage's smoldering performance, one of those reminders that a single scowl is worth pages of conversation.--Robert Horton