Meaning of the Movie “Paterson”

My wife and I just watched Paterson, the new movie written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It touched me unlike any film I’ve seen in years; I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. And what was on the screen? A box of matches, a guitar, cupcakes, the inside of a bus, the outside of a dreary house, a dark dive bar, an ugly dog, old city streets and buildings, lots of circles and twins, a waterfall, a bridge, lines of poetry, and  … mature love.

The film made the ordinary seem … extraordinary. It reminded me of Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town,” which also exalts the wonder of ordinary things. Paterson and his wife find beauty and love in and among the ordinary. They literally create their own meaning to life, by filling its blank canvas with poetry, music, cupcakes, and conversation. What a contrast their relationship is to the toxic masculinity and over-sexualized femininity that permeate our culture. The two of them never seem to get what they want but, at the same time, they somehow have everything they want.

The film is an ode to mindfulness, to love, and ultimately to life itself. I will watch it again.


Here are some reviews of the film:

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