The Station Agent

Remember some time back when I found that video store closing in Boston? And I dropped a couple hundred bucks over the course of a month or so and ended up with the sweetest stack of movies I’ve ever had? This was one of the movies I bought. I knew nothing about it, but saw Peter Dinklage on the cover. Peter Dinklage as a leading man for 2 bucks? Yes please. I watched it back then during my frenzied marathon, and I enjoyed it very much. And then I forgot everything about it. It grabbed my eye a couple times when glimpsing my movie wall for quarantine films, so I finally gave in. Excellent choice.

Dinklage plays a man who lives a solitary, quiet life. He has one friend in the world, whom he works with in a model train store. Trains are his one passion. When that friend dies, he leaves Dinklage some property alongside an old train station outside a tiny town. Dinklage moves in, hoping to continue his uneventful and existence, far from anyone and anything who would bother him. But as hard as he tries to be alone, he keeps bumping into Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Arquette, and other townsfolk who want nothing more than to make a connection and be his friend.

It’s a sweet and positive film, exactly what we need right now. I may not have the positivity rule in full force anymore, but it was a nice follow up to Prisoners earlier that day (yup the rule is out the window). The film is simple, but it’s just different enough to work and work really well. The cast is delightful (Cannavale in particular), and by the end I was wanting to hang out with them too. Especially love seeing Peter Dinklage as a leading man. If I remember right, the role was specifically written for him by a friend. It’s not a particularly showy role, but it’s endearing.

Besides filling the positivity void, it was an interesting one to watch during lockdown. I’ve always thought that I could never survive in a small town. Not the one where I grew up (which isn’t really that small but feels and acts like it) and certainly not the one in this film. I want to have options and things to do. But I’m thriving right now (again, existential dread aside) and may never leave my apartment again. I was happy when work said we’d be remote until tentatively July. I’m enjoying revisiting movies and doing crochet and reconnecting with my old yoga studio. I don’t need people as a whole. I’ve got a small core of friends I’m regularly connecting with weekly, and that’s enough. It’s not that different from the situation here in the film. Limited world that indulges his passion (trains for him, movies for me) and just the right friends to share it with. I never thought that would sound so pleasant.