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The Station Agent

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: The Station Agent

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Thomas McCarthy
Rated: R
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: October 2003
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: Bobby Cannavale, Raven Goodwin, Paul Benjamin, Michelle Williams, Maile Flanagan, Ileen Getz, Joe Lo Truglio



Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Three ill-matched misfits find emotional solace in friendship in actor-turned-writer/director Tom McCarthy's gently charming character study that became the surprise hit of the Sundance Film Festival this spring, walking away with the Audience Award, among others.

First, there's Fin McBride (Peter Dinkage), a reclusive dwarf who is obsessed with trains and has inherited an abandoned rural railway station in New Jersey; he's spent a solitary lifetime steeling himself against insensitive curiosity and rude remarks about his size. His new neighbor is goofy Joe (Bobby Cannavale), a persistently friendly, chatty Cuban who runs his ailing father's hot-dog stand that's parked alongside the depot. Then there's Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a ditsy, accident-prone painter who is still grieving over the tragic death of her young son two years ago.

Much to their surprise and delight, these desperately lonely souls find solace in each other's quirky company. One of the best scenes in the film occurs when Olivia's estranged husband drops in one morning and finds the three of them - in bleary-eyed bliss - after boozing themselves into oblivion. And there are appealing, multi-faceted supporting characters - like a sympathetic librarian (Michelle Williams) and an inquisitive schoolgirl (Raven Goodwin).

Don't be surprised if Peter Dinkage becomes the first dwarf nominated for an Oscar; his performance is that good! (Dinkage pops up in a hilarious cameo in "Elf" and has two more films already set for 2004, along with the part of Toulouse-Lautrec in Charles Mee's upcoming play at Lincoln Center.) On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Station Agent" is an edgy, understated yet dryly funny 8. In its simplicity, it's a gem about isolation and its alternatives.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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