265 of 276 people found the following review helpful
Superb character study/indie film,
Not many films have a dwarf as the main character--especially one whose fascination is trains. Finnbar McBride, played by actor Peter Dinklage, is such a man and has immersed himself in trains as, we understand with the progression of this great film, a retreat from the world of normal humans who too often delight in ridiculing him for his stature.
If this were a film characterized by stereotype and lack of imagination and intelligence, Finn would emerge as the valiant hero, fighting the odds that Mother Nature dealt him. But, luckily, it is not. Filmmaker (writer-director) Thomas McCarthy is much too smart and sensitive to do something stupid like that. Finn is very quiet, but has his weaknesses, shown in a great scene at the local bar in tiny Newfoundland, New Jersey where Finn's been left an old train depot by his recently deceased former boss.
In the bar, he proceeds to get truly drunk and confronts the inner demon of his enormous frustration at his dwarfism by standing on the bar and taunting everyone else to look at him. He's a fully rounded person--he shuns human company but when it's foisted upon him--by garrulous young Joe, the hot dog vendor, and by Olivia, the klutzy but beautiful local artist--he does respond. He does laugh with his new friends, he does understand that others may have pain, maybe even deeper than his.
This is one of the year's best films because it dares to raise a true, deep, and honest voice amidst the glitzy schlock that Hollywood still cranks out to rake in the millions. This is a film that should not be missed for its depth of characterization and emotion, its courage, its honesty, sensitivity, and above all, its deep understanding of what being human really means.
Very highly recommended.
Tracked by 2 customers
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2010 1:54:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 3, 2010 1:58:00 PM PDT
B. Tweed DeLions says:
This was one of the best movies I have seen in years.
I have always loved this kind of film. "Slice of life" is pretty accurate. But from my experience most people don't "get" this kind of film.
For people who watch these kinds of films and who say in the end, "But nothing *happened*", might not like this movie. It's that kind of film. The story is so subtle that it seems like nothing much is happening.
For people who don't appreciate subtlety, this may not be a good film for them. But for those who do, the humor is so subtle that it had me laughing out loud. But I love subtle humor. Not everyone gets it.
Understatement is one of the most powerful literary devices if handled well. Unfortunately, understatement has grown out of favor in popular art. That's a pity.
This movie is a subtle masterpiece. But for people who don't understand or grasp subtlety, try it anyway. Maybe you'll "get" it this time. Then again, maybe not.
This is a great feel good movie, in my opinion, and what I would call an instant classic. I loved every minute of it. Just when I think good filmmaking is dead, a movie comes along and renews my hope. This was that kind of movie.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2013 10:18:30 AM PST
This movie will always be one of my favorites. What a classy group of people with everyone having their own problems, as we all do. What a great display of human dignity and a beautiful mix of chbraacters that will always stay with me.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2014 8:44:00 PM PST
Apple Green says:
How beautifully put, B. Tweed.
I loved the pauses, and the simple humanity expressed in this film.
Posted on Jun 3, 2014 8:20:19 AM PDT
Steve Kohn says:
Saw the film last night. As always, cold, without having read the reviews first.
Afterwards my heart said, "This was a great film."
But my head said "Yeah, the characters were appealing, but who was in charge of filling holes in the script?
Why did Finn go back (saving Olivia from her intentional overdose) after having been told unambiguously he was not welcome at her house any longer?
Why is the food truck parked where there's never any business?
Why does Finn, a man solaced by quiet and solitude, go to the bar? (Right, so we could have that "Take a good look" scene.)
Why doesn't Finn, who's obviously gone to the classroom to overcome his rejection fears, not use the "How tall are you?" question to address dwarfism with the children? Wouldn't that have been a great scene.
Maybe I need to stop thinking so much and just go with my feelings.
Posted on Jun 15, 2014 7:12:22 PM PDT
Happy Mom of Twins says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2014 11:20:42 AM PDT
Apple Green says:
Happy Mom, I agree that the general population of movie watches will probably not be too excited about this film. I also think it might be especially boring for kids. While I loved it, it's definitely not for everyone.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2014 9:03:37 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 4, 2014 9:04:03 PM PDT]
Posted on Sep 8, 2014 7:27:13 PM PDT
Amazon Customer says:
I loved the film, but I have always loved the meandering yet deep subtleness of this film. I have always wondered what is running through everyone's mind. I feel some people have really deep thoughts and ideas where as most people are pretty simplistic and superficial. Fin is very much a deep thinker and is a guy you just want to crack open and see what he is thinking as he meanders down the RR tracks..
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