The Station Agent

Director: Tom McCarthy

The Station Agent is the quintessential indie success story. Actor turned writer/director Tom McCarthy wrote a script specifically for his actors (Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, and Patricia Clarkson), shot it on the cheap in just twenty days, screened it at Sundance where it won the Audience Award, Special Jury Prize and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, until finally it was purchased by Miramax for 1.5 million dollars. The question remained afterwards of whether it was worth all of the hype, as some movies seem to peak at Sundance and then plummet once marketed. However, based on word-of-mouth and a grassroots strategy (when I saw the film, Cannavale was in attendance for a Q&A), this quiet little film about three eccentrics who form an unlikely friendship has become a cult hit, and as critics often note, The Station Agent is one of those films you immediately feel like you’d want to share and recommend to others. Peter Dinklage stars Fin McBride, a train enthusiast who inherits a small train depot in the middle of deserted New Jersey after a friend passes away. Tired of being ridiculed as a “dwarf,” Fin eagerly packs up his things to move to a place where he assumes he’ll be away from the points and giggles. However, he soon meets the overly enthusiastic, talkative Cuban hot-dog vendor Joe (Bobby Cannavale who provides laughs throughout) and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson) an artist going through a marital crisis. The three unlikely individuals find that in each other’s company they finally fit as they're able to be themselves and form a unique trio. While some argue that it’s slow moving and indeed much doesn’t happen in the way of plot, it’s a very real, charming tale of friendship that indie fans will love.