THE STATION AGENT is the story of a dwarf named Finn, played by Peter Dinklage, who works at a quiet train/hobby shop with an older black gentleman. Finn is shy and sensitive to people’s stares and snickers, so he keeps to himself in life. One day he finds out that the black man has died and left him some property somewhere in New Jersey. It is a train station on about half an acre, abandoned for years but next to a running, active track. Finn moves in and sets up house, happy to finally be left alone to read books in peace.
The peace is short-lived, however, as Finn finds out that he has a close neighbor, a big, loud, young Italian guy, Joe (Bobby Cannavale). Joe sells hot dogs and cappuccinos from his portable trailer, right in Finn’s station yard. The guy is extremely friendly and a bit nosey, though immediately endearing with his warmth. It’s not quite enough to soften the hardness of Finn’s heart, though.
Soon Finn almost gets run over – twice – by a beautiful red-haired artist, Olivia, played by Patricia Clarkson. Olivia is a not-so-good driver, a not-so-good artist, and a grieving divorcee who’s lost her only son. Pretty soon, because of Joe’s big personality, the three have formed a unique, quiet relationship that consists of walking along the train tracks, reading, smoking, and occasionally talking. Joe seems to be able to pull a personality out of a rock, and the atmosphere gets lighter and lighter every day.
Just when everyone starts letting their walls down, though, Olivia suddenly disappears and doesn’t want to see her friends again. Though Finn claims to hate bars, he goes to one and drinks himself silly, wishing for death as he sees his old patterns of loneliness and isolation repeating themselves. He makes a drastic decision that could have far-reaching consequences, but little does he know that others are making similar, simultaneous decisions. Finn must ultimately decide whether or not he can get past the hurts in his own heart to make himself vulnerable to some needy people who have the power to either love him or crush him.
THE STATION AGENT won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and its direction, cinematography, acting, and story deserve recognition. The filmmakers did a good job of the “show it, don’t say it” rule, and the movie certainly draws audiences into the mood immediately. A bittersweet story is sprinkled with moments of light, fun humor, just exactly when it’s most needed.
One of the characters, the big Italian hot dog vendor, is very lovable and draws his friends into life. He insists that they pray at mealtime, and the prayers he offers to God are heartfelt. He is so genuine, however, that he sprinkles in an obscenity or two about how he’s feeling about his demanding relatives, etc. The guy does have a language issue, and it is his character that provides over 90% of the movie’s 42 obscenities. The film also portrays the smoking of pot, and the resultant tired, stoned friends.
The movie shows the profound isolation that comes when one’s spirit exists apart from God. Because of the foul language and marijuana references, however, the movie gets an R-rating from the MPAA, and extreme caution from MOVIEGUIDE®.
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SUMMARY: In THE STATION AGENT, when his only friend and co-worker dies, a young man born with dwarfism moves to an abandoned train depot in rural New Jersey, and it’s there, with some unlikely companions, that he’s finally forced to come to terms with his heart. This Sundance Film Festival winner is bittersweet and commendable on many fronts, yet its language and drug portrayals will make it objectionable to many moral audiences.
(H, B, LLL, V, AA, DD, M) Humanist worldview portraying the profound isolation of the spirit apart from God, some moral, biblical elements with a friend, representing life, leading prayers at mealtime and praying to God, albeit sprinkled with some obscenities; strong language with 22 lighter obscenities, 16 strong obscenities, and four profanities; some violence with man pushing girl at car and some light bar-room-type violence; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking and several portrayals of marijuana and its after-effects; and, rudeness to short man suffering from dwarfism and disrespectfulness to women.