Every day, Paterson (Driver), a bus driver in Paterson, New Jersey, rises early to make the daily walk to the bus station. Before starting his route, he jots down lines of poetry in a little notebook. Driving around town, he catches passing conversations of his passengers. Each evening, he returns to his wife Laura (Farahani) and their British bulldog. He walks the dog and stops at his local watering hole for one beer. With his routine unwavering, a week passes in this way.
Jarmusch’s spare screenplay unfolds like a poem, with measured pacing and intentional repetition. Driver is understated and pensive, his performance balanced by Farahani’s force of energy. Taking for inspiration William Carlos Williams’ “Paterson,” the director lovingly paints a picture of quotidian routines that becomes a reassuring portrait of existence itself. When misfortune strikes, we are reminded that art is fragile and ephemeral in this quirky, charming stroll through the seemingly unremarkable days that form a life.