Winner of 2003 Sundance Film Festival awards (Best Drama, Audience Award; Best Screenplay, Tom McCarthy; Best Performance, Patricia Clarkson), THE STATION AGENT stars Emmy Award winner Patricia Clarkson (TV's SIX FEET UNDE... more »R, FAR FROM HEAVEN), Peter Dinklage (ELF), and Bobby Cannavale (TV's 24, THIRD WATCH) in a comedy about friendship that will have you smiling long after the final credits. Fin McBride (Dinklage), a loner with a passion for trains, inherits an abandoned train station in the middle of nowhere -- a place that suits him just fine because all he wants is to be alone. But that is not to be. Soon after moving in, he discovers his isolated depot is more like Grand Central Station. There's Olivia (Clarkson), a distracted and troubled artist, and Joe (Cannavale), a friendly Cuban with an insatiable hunger for conversation. With absolutely nothing in common, they find their isolated lives coming together in a friendship none of them could foresee.« less
Linda S. (tpz1957) from CORTLAND, OH Reviewed on 12/29/2011...
Excellent movie. It started kind of slow but was worth the wait. I think everyone should see this movie and think about the way we treat others that are different from us.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Superb character study/indie film
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not many films have a dwarf as the main character--especially one whose fascination is trains. Finnbar McBride, played by actor Peter Dinklage, is such a man and has immersed himself in trains as, we understand with the progression of this great film, a retreat from the world of normal humans who too often delight in ridiculing him for his stature. If this were a film characterized by stereotype and lack of imagination and intelligence, Finn would emerge as the valiant hero, fighting the odds that Mother Nature dealt him. But, luckily, it is not. Filmmaker (writer-director) Thomas McCarthy is much too smart and sensitive to do something stupid like that. Finn is very quiet, but has his weaknesses, shown in a great scene at the local bar in tiny Newfoundland, New Jersey where Finn's been left an old train depot by his recently deceased former boss. In the bar, he proceeds to get truly drunk and confronts the inner demon of his enormous frustration at his dwarfism by standing on the bar and taunting everyone else to look at him. He's a fully rounded person--he shuns human company but when it's foisted upon him--by garrulous young Joe, the hot dog vendor, and by Olivia, the klutzy but beautiful local artist--he does respond. He does laugh with his new friends, he does understand that others may have pain, maybe even deeper than his.This is one of the year's best films because it dares to raise a true, deep, and honest voice amidst the glitzy schlock that Hollywood still cranks out to rake in the millions. This is a film that should not be missed for its depth of characterization and emotion, its courage, its honesty, sensitivity, and above all, its deep understanding of what being human really means.Very highly recommended."
A perfect slice of life.
Miles D. Moore | Alexandria, VA USA | 11/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tom McCarthy's "The Station Agent" is the sort of movie that--if it even gets made in America--seldom makes it past the festival circuit to a wider audience. That "The Station Agent" did so is an unexpected and delightful surprise. This gentle, poignant film--which unfolds like a perfectly wrought short story--tells the tale of Fin (Peter Dinklage), a four-foot five-inch, thirtysomething guy who works in a model train store and has a lifelong fascination with trains. Used to the mockery of those around him, he lives devoid of human contact other than his sympathetic boss and a few fellow train enthusiasts. When his boss dies, he leaves Fin a decrepit train depot in a rural part of New Jersey; Fin, having no other place that will take him in, goes to the depot to live. There, almost against his will, he begins to establish contact with a few of the local residents, including two who in their own ways are as lonely as Fin: Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a convivial, motormouth hot dog vendor saddled with a chronically ill father, and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), an eccentric artist grieving over the loss of her small son and her bitter estrangement from her husband. How Fin, Joe and Olivia slowly, clumsily discover their common bonds forms the main story of "The Station Agent." It's scarcely an earth-shattering story, and the low budget is always evident; yet "The Station Agent" never puts a foot wrong. The story and dialogue continually offer small, revealing surprises about the characters, and the performances of Dinklage, Clarkson and Cannavale are exquisitely natural and unaffected. "The Station Agent" is a movie most people will probably never hear of, but those who see it will cherish it."
A Celebration of Humanity
Robert Morris | Dallas, Texas | 02/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do not damn with faint praise when calling this a "small" film, nor when doing so is any offense intended to Peter Dinklage who plays the role of Finbar McBride, the central character. After the death of his employer and friend who owns a store offering model railroads and various accessories, McBride learns that he has inherited from him an abandoned train station and sets out on foot to begin a new life there. Only four-foot tall, by now he has endured all of the hurtful jokes and taunts about dwarfs, "Munchkins," etc. He seeks solitude in what seems to be an eminently appropriate residence, given his passion for railroading in all shapes and sizes. McBride arrives and establishes residence, determined to have minimal contact with others who live in the town nearby. Unexpectedly and at first reluctantly, he becomes friends with Joe Oramas (Bobby Cannavale) and then Olivia Harris (Patricia Clarkson), both of whom sense within McBride a stature belied by his diminutive body. This is a "small" film in the sense that under Thomas McCarthy's brilliant direction, it is fully developed within quite limited parameters. (I am reminded of the fact that the greatest athletes "play within themselves.") I can think of nothing to delete from this film, nor of anything to add. Also, to their credit, McCarthy and his cast resist every opportunity to sentimentalize (thereby trivialize) any of the lead characters' weaknesses as well as strengths. Finbar, Olivia, and Joe struggle (with mixed success) in their relationships with each other. Their behavior is not always admirable. But separately and together, they celebrate the nature of humanity, whatever the shape and form of it may prove to be."
See this movie!
Nancy R. Katz | NJ | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Station Agent is one of those movies that begins slowly but then grabs the viewer and doesn't let go. More than anything it teaches viewers that "families" come in all sorts and types. Finn, a dwarf played by Peter Dinklage, works for a store, which specializes in toy trains and their repair. He is also a member of a train club, which chases trains and videotapes their train rides, or chases. Sullen and withdrawn Finn inherits a piece of land in New Jersey with a depot on the grounds when his boss dies. Retreating to the depot, he finds a brash, loud and outgoing young man, Joe played by Booby Cannevale who is working at his father roadside coffee stand. Joe tried to reach out to Finn and slowly immerses himself in Finn's life, walking the train tracks with him and filming a train as they ride along in his car. Patricia Clarkson as Olivia, an artist who is separated from her husband and grieving for her young son who was killed, plays the third member of this unlikely trio. The three of them slowly become friends and one can't help but get the feeling that these are real people rather than actors playing roles. How they reach out to one another and form their ties is the basis for this movie and one well worth seeing. While Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Cannevale are well suited for their roles, the movie ultimately belongs to Finn as he comes to terms with his size and desires.I laughed, I cried and I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I will never forget these three people or this movie. See it. You won't be sorry!"
Not a shlocky Hollywood drama - see this movie!
Govindan Nair | Vienna, VA United States | 10/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Several lonely characters in a small non descript New Jersey town do not make for a major Hollywood drama. But this "small movie" is very human and manages to sustain your involvement without the usual gratuitous doses of fight or flesh. Finnbar, the main character, is a midget who inherits a disused smalltown train station when his boss dies. He converts this to his new home next to the tracks where trains no longer stop. Initially trying to shun contact with others, his life becomes slowly woven with other characters in this little New Jersey town of Newfoundland. There is Joe, the hot dog/coffee stand vendor, who continually receives calls from his ill father; Olivia, the artist haunted by the accidental death of her young son, which has estranged her from the husband from whom she has now seperated; a pretty young local town librarian who admires the midget's striking facial features; and a young black schoogirl who keeps popping in and out from seemingly nowhere, seeking to get Finnbar to overcome his reluctance to make a presentation on trains to her grade school class. What binds Finnbarr to Joe and Olivia is their common sense of intense loneliness, for which the abandoned silent tracks provide an unmistkable metaphor. Several superbly shot scenes and some wonderful dialogue are what keeps you hooked throughout this movie in addition to some very fine acting. You almost begin feeling after a while that you are next to the same railway tracks or in the same living room as the three main characters. I only wished, when it was over, that this type of movie were more the norm. Please see this movie!"