The Station Agent



Date: March 6, 2020

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Hoke Theatre of Stocker Arts Center

Cost: $7/each

Buy Tickets

2003 (R) 90 min. USA
Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale

What follows are observations edited from reviews by Peter Howell, “Toronto Star,” Ruthe Stein, “San Francisco Chronicle,” and Barry Paris, “Pittsburgh Post Gazette.”

When his only friend dies, Finbar McBride moves to an abandoned train station in rural New Jersey, to live the life of a hermit. His attempt at solitude is soon interrupted, however, by interactions with his neighbors, including Olivia, a struggling artist coping with the recent death of her young son, and Joe, a thirty-year-old with a talent for cooking and insatiable hunger for conversation – whether anyone wants to talk to him or not. Peter Dinklage plays Finbar McBride, a dwarf, who loves trains and operates a model train store with his aging friend Henry. When Henry passes away, he leaves Fin a small piece of land in Newfoundland, New Jersey, along with the broken down train depot that stands there. With nothing left for him in the city, Fin embarks on a journey to a far corner of New Jersey where he becomes the unexpected owner of the abandoned railway depot. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but that’s just fine by Fin who aspires to nothing more than a quiet life. Fin moves into the small depot and decides to spend much of his time reading about and watching trains. As a loner, who wants no contact with his neighbors, he takes solitary walks, waiting for trains to whiz by so he can clock them with his pocket watch. Decades of being the brunt of cruel jokes about his height have taught him to insulate himself from more hurt. “The Station Agent” is exquisitely written and directed, with beautiful ensemble acting and integration of photography, production design and music. Its ambivalent misfits’ love story has a subtly perfect ending – based not on living happily or unhappily ever after, but on the reality that the rest of their lives simply haven’t yet been lived.

“A beautifully made comic drama that mixes unforced warmth, emotional sophistication, and dead on deadpan humor.” – Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“While many movies reintroduce us to the same old types, THE STATION AGENT is an original – you’ve never seen these people on screen before, and it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance.” – Moira MacDonald, SEATTLE TIMES

“What saves the movie, and gives it what emotional reality it has, is the acting. A lot of the good will this movie has generated is due to Dinklage, who single-handedly overturns decades of screen stereotypes.” – David Ansen, NEWSWEEK

“This a gem of a movie that, like its protagonist, boasts a fiercely independent spirit full of discreet optimism and deadpan humour.” – Stella Papamichael, BBC