The Station Agent

During the days in Hoboken, New Jersey, Fin works at a model train shop run by his friend and fellow railfan Henry Styles (Paul Benjamin). At night, Fin and Henry spend time with their train-chaser brethren, watching home movies of their exploits. One afternoon at work, Henry collapses and dies. Fin discovers that, while the shop and the building it houses where Fin lives, in one of the upstairs apartments, will be sold off, Henry has left him an abandoned train depot downstate in Newfoundland. Fin decides this is his chance to make a break from the world for a while, packing up his few belonging and walking the right of way down to his new home, discovering almost immediately his dreams of solitude will not be realized, when Fin finds a curious and extremely chatty snack truck vendor named Joe (Bobby Cannavale) parked right next to the depot. If Joe wasn’t enough of a nuisance, Fin also gets run off the road on his first day by Lydia (Patricia Clarkson), a local painter, as he walks down the road to the closest store. Only to be run off the road by Lydia a second time as he returns to the depot from the store.

The more Fin tries to shut everyone out, the more people seem to gravitate towards him. As Fin walks the rails around his depot, he finds himself being followed by a young girl named Cleo (Raven Goodwin), who at first quietly mimics his actions several steps behind him. When Fin tries to check out a book on trains at a local library, he attracts the attention of Emily (Michelle Williams), the pretty and young librarian. Even the old lady who runs the local convenience store can’t help but take Fin’s picture the first time he enters her store. When Fin finally blows off some steam and everyone respects his wishes to be left alone, he discovers isolation isn’t all that great, slowly trying to bring these people back into his life.

For most people, they would have little interest (no pun intended) in spending ten dollars to watch a dwarf deal with a bunch of quirky people for an hour and a half, featuring a bunch of actors whose name aren’t instantly recognizable. You already have your own set of worries, and after all the bills are paid you only have so much to spend on entertainment. And movies are meant to entertain. They’re meant to take you away from your own problems for a while and transport you into a different world. “The Station Agent” might not feature a plethora of explosions or a wealth of voluptuous and beautiful naked women, and it might not team a pair of mismatched cops teaming together to take down a common enemy. No monsters come back from the dead over and over to slice up the characters with an axe or a gloved covered with knives or a chainsaw. Just a wealth of interesting people, who discover life might be a little better opening themselves up to each other than shutting each other out. That’s a message we need to hear every once in a while, especially when it’s done by a group of good actors working with a smart screenplay.

Seek this movie out.

Rating: A