A film as a poem about life as a poem about a poet. Possibly.
Slow. Methodical. Edges on monotonous at times. Perhaps that's the point?
Paterson is presented like life in that way, a series of unrelated moments that when looked at individually don't really impact each other or have meaning though when grouped they become your life. Kind of sad actually. Like picking up litter on the street then calling the pile of it art.
What I do love about Paterson ( which is to say I found the emotional impact and entertainment value limited) is the questions it prompts you to ask - about the intent of the film itself and life more broadly. Sounds pretentious right? I know. Shit.
Starting with the film : we have Jarmusch trying to make a statement but it's debatable what he's trying to say - maybe it depends on your interpretation and world view. Do you find the wife a despicable cliche of new age aspiration (entrepreneurship and music fame) or a charming and well adjusted homemaker with dreams or perhaps you see something of yourself in her - unwilling to come to terms with what your life is or what it has become.
Maybe life is just one long running game of self delusion that you are nothing and will never be anything. One way to justify that is to preoccupy yourself in multiple directions ( the wife) the other with never showing the world your talent (Paterson). Either way it let's you point externally to reasons you're not your 'ultimate self.'
Because once we acknowledge that we're not our best selves, and we're just letting the days pass (as the film Paterson really hammers home) then what do we do? Are we crippled or liberated ? Jarmusch here may be making the argument that it doesn't matter. You'll never be fully realized. You'll never reach your 'goal' so just enjoy the ride (or the bus ride in this case).
This was a tough film because it's so strong at raising questions but so weak st delivering on sympathetic characters or entertainment.
Overly artsy? Maybe. Effective on an intellectual level? At least for me.
But maybe I'm the type of wannabe creative that the movie passively skewers, wasting away their days with pseudo intellectual claims and half hearted attempts at success before the next shiny project becomes the object of my desire.
It's the rhythm of life. Either sad or delightful. And definitely a worthwhile discussion.
Outside of the thematic fodder, the acting and editing seemed self conscious and stilted. Maybe intentional but arguably ineffective in establishing an immersive world, a sincere tone, or sympathetic characters.
It's almost like American beauty was shot by an amateur filmmaker. Worthy attempt with something worthwhile to say about modern coping but it just doesn't get there. It feels constructed. From the poems overlaid on the screen to the rhythm of the days of the week.
Don't beat me over the head with your message, package it in a gripping human story.