Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 2003. SenArt Films, Next Wednesday Productions. Screenplay by Tom McCarthy. Cinematography by Oliver Bokelberg. Produced by Robert May, Mary Jane Skalski, Kathryn Tucker. Music by Stephen Trask. Production Design by John Paino. Costume Design by Jeanne DuPont. Film Editing by Tom McArdle. Independent Spirit Awards 2003. National Board of Review Awards 2003. Toronto International Film Festival 2003.
A train enthusiast (Peter Dinklage, who effortlessly carries the entire film) finds himself alone in the world when his aging employer and best friend suddenly dies and leaves him an abandoned railway station in his will. Moving to a tiny New Jersey town to live in his new home, Dinklage, who is a dwarf, must continue to contend with society’s viewing him as a freak of nature. In reality, he thinks of himself a plain and simple bore, while the friends he makes have hangups and quirks that would make any circus ringmaster proud. Bobby Cannavale is excellent as the motormouthed coffee truck man who forces friendship upon our stoic hero, while Patricia Clarkson steals the show as the beautiful, pained woman who works her way into his heart. Everything about this independently filmed drama is timed to perfection, with a marvelous and heartfelt screenplay that instantly makes all the characters and their situations cherishable. The whole thing is full of so many wonderful small, treasured moments that you won’t want it to ever end.