The Station Agent


Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. As touching and original a movie as you're likely to see this year.
  2. 91
    Watching this tender little movie with its teasing humor, its deeply felt performances and its focus on slight moments rather than gigantic sea changes is like hearing a tasteful sonata instead of the usual vulgar symphony that the cinema offers up.
  3. Wonderfully understated, Station Agent is a masterful film and a bracing movie experience. Its power is in large part because of the performers, most prominently Dinklage as the solitary dwarf.
  4. Its charming story of the delicate intersection of three highly individual lives is the kind of completely personal yet universal film that the festival and the entire independent movement came into being to celebrate. And it does it all in 88 deft and funny minutes.
  5. 90
    The movie's writer and director, Tom McCarthy, has such an appreciation for quiet that it occupies the same space as a character in this film, a delicate, thoughtful and often hilarious take on loneliness.
  6. It avoids the compulsively calibrated storytelling of big-studio moviemaking for a slower-moving but powerfully absorbing drama.
  7. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Ends very abruptly, at a point where you're ready to hang out with it a while. I wanted it to go on and on, but that ending is right. It leaves you the way American movies almost never do: relaxed, receptive, and happy in the moment, not even caring if your train comes in.
  8. 90
    The best advice to filmgoers who appreciate smart, mature, humanist movies is, simply, Go.
  9. 90
    It's hard to say why The Station Agent sends you out feeling so benevolent. It may have something to do with being in the presence of a director who treats you with respect. McCarthy allows us to feel without telling us how and what we should feel.
  10. 89
    McCarthy’s film is rich in tone and subtlety, but has precious little dialogue. It feels less like a modern motion picture than some odd poem long lost and then discovered in another age, a timeless, ageless gem of hard-resined emotions melting into real life.
  11. 88
    [McCarthy] marries beautifully spare compositions with comically abbreviated dialogue to craft something magnificent from a vaguely precious premise that could easily be the foundation for a parody.
  12. Everyone involved can claim credit, but it's Dinklage, in an understated, outstanding performance, who turns this unlikely tale into art that will strike a chord with any open-minded audience.
  13. It's the old cliche, but (like most cliches) it's true: It's impossible to imagine this picture without this actor.
  14. 88
    Yes, this is a comedy, but it's also sad, and finally it's simply a story about trying to figure out what you love to do and then trying to figure out how to do it.
  15. 88
    The Station Agent has craft and pace and that far rarer quality, fellow-feeling.
  16. His height didn't stop independent writer-director Thomas McCarthy from casting his friend in The Station Agent, scoring a triumph for both.
  17. That his (writer-director Tom McCarthy) strange, often funny film is so well-disciplined and deadpan refreshing is an achievement.
  18. 80
    Tom McCarthy’s film is never more than small, and that’s how it should be. It is about treasuring life -– sometimes even cheating death -– and it manages to warm hearts in its own uncompromising way, rarely cheating and never belittling.
  19. 80
    Quiet and meditative, Dinklage neatly sidesteps the trope of the angry dwarf, and Clarkson, even in pain and rage, is characteristically warm and sexy -- she's our very own Helen Mirren.
  20. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    A droll and affecting debut feature by Tom McCarthy.
  21. 80
    McCarthy's characters make for good company even in their story's awkward patches, and in a film so unabashedly about the value of friendship, good company goes a long way.
  22. Thanks to the performances and McCarthy's understated script and direction, the film walked off with both the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
  23. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Ultimately this is a film about feelings, moments and things not said. Like "Lost In Translation," it’s about what happens when people living in their own little worlds collide.
  24. 75
    The three actors could not be better. Huge feelings are packed into this small, fragile movie. It's something special.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The movie, which ends on an unexpected note of wistful humor, also gleans gentle and non-derisive chuckles out of Fin's physical state.
  26. The movie's main attraction isn't hard to find. It's essentially a character study, but one where the nature of the study is as unique as the stature of the character.
  27. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Though the movie is predictable, it's also honest; Fin emerges from his struggles a better person but not A Better Person, if you catch my drift. And in any case all of the actors are a great pleasure to watch.
  28. For most of the film, Fin is only as odd as Joe and Olivia -- three eccentrics rendered positively normal in a friendship built on the crap we all face every day.
  29. 75
    Despite its humble nature, the film is downright uplifting without being vulgar, flashy or embarrassing.
  30. 75
    Mercifully, The Station Agent is not about how these misfits heal one another -- they're not that miserable, for one thing. It's about the unlikely ways proximity, need, and coincidence create friendships.
  31. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A well-acted and crafted character piece that's a bit too calculated and cutesy for its own good.
  32. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    The brilliance of Fin is that he reins in a lifetime of rage, and there is a determination in his eye, and in the line of his chin, that practiced moviegoers will, possibly to their surprise, identify as halfway to sexy--the world-weary smolder of the leading man. [6 October 2003, p. 138]
  33. 70
    Manages to explore the darker facets of friendship without being dark.
  34. 70
    With its quiet pacing and dry-as-a-bone wit, the film strongly recalls the deadpan comedies of Jim Jarmusch or early Hal Hartley, but it gradually reveals a welcome new sensibility, one that's entirely McCarthy's own.
  35. 70
    The rural setting and the loners-banding-together theme are affecting and the supporting players--especially Michelle Williams and Raven Goodwin as two more outcasts--are all superb.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 98 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 27
  2. Negative: 4 out of 27
  1. Jul 9, 2015
    It's a delightful indie flick with a natural feel around it. The cast is brilliant, especially the main trio of Peter Dinklage, PatriciaIt's a delightful indie flick with a natural feel around it. The cast is brilliant, especially the main trio of Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, and Bobby Cannavale. The themes of loneliness and friendship are subtle yet hit just enough to touch me. It's quirky, just like life itself is full of quirks. Full Review »
  2. Jan 14, 2015
    This movies made me happy, not for a moment after it ended but it made me happy for a very long time after watching it, days even. The storyThis movies made me happy, not for a moment after it ended but it made me happy for a very long time after watching it, days even. The story is simple, warm, funny. The casting and characters are nothing short of perfect. If you have not seen this film and are reading this review looking to see if you think it is worth watch, believe me now, stop reading and start watching.

    If this movie doesn't warm your insides you must be cryogenic!!!
    Full Review »
  3. May 6, 2014
    So these people just follow a midget around for an hour and a half...The midget is boring, but so are the people who have been following theSo these people just follow a midget around for an hour and a half...The midget is boring, but so are the people who have been following the midget around. They share their boring lives with each other as friendships manifest itself in the most natural of ways...boring life stuff happens, and that's the end. Full Review »