The Station Agent (2003)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Oct 3, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 89 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Thomas McCarthy's Sundance-winning The Station Agent is a quiet, disarmingly simple movie about a man overcoming grief. Peter Dinklage gives one of the best performances of the year as Finbar McBride, a dwarf who inherits an abandoned train station after the death of his best, and possibly only, friend. McCarthy's storytelling is both leisurely and economical. His camera quietly observes Fin's taciturn ways and hints at why he has closed himself off emotionally from the world. Into his personal realm comes Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) a woman also dealing with grief of her own, and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) a man so charmingly good-natured and emotionally open that he manages to break through all of Fin's defenses. McCarthy's empathy for these characters shines through with the help of the three leads. Each of them delivers an emotionally penetrating performance without a hint of bravura. But it is the remarkable Dinklage who dominates the film. At one point, in a marijuana-fueled bit of personal revelation, Fin confesses that he is a really boring guy. His laugh after that admission signals his own trepidation at revealing so much of himself as well as his relief at being able to reveal himself to these new friends. The moment is simple and profound -- an apt description of the movie's poetic final scene as well as the film as a whole. The Station Agent is a perfect example of everything good about American independent film.