Who would have guess that they could make a movie about gay sheepherders and people would flock to see it? Sorry, but that’s about the only Brokeback Mountain joke that I have not heard in the last eighteen months. I will admit that I went into this film with a degree of skepticism, fearing that it would be an earnest, self-conscious “message movie.” I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a carefully observed study of two sharply drawn individuals in a doomed relationship and how that relationship impacts their lives.
At its core, Thomas McCarthy‘s The Station Agent is about a guy who makes friends despite all his best efforts to live a life free of human interaction. Fin McBride (Peter Dinklage) works in a model train store for his only friend, Henry (Paul Benjamin). After Henry dies, his will leaves Fin a dilapitated old train station in Newfoundland, New Jersey. This isolated location suits him just fine, since Fin would rather have as little to do with other people as possible. For him solitude is preferable to the curious and pitying looks that have followed him his whole life due to his dwarfism. Trains are his first and only love and a necessary escape from a taller world.