The Station Agent

Director: Tom McCarthy
Screenwriters: Tom McCarthy

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Finbar McBride wants to be left alone. But at four feet, five inches, blending in with the crowd is an almost impossible task. Born with dwarfism, Fin has responded to unsolicited attention by choosing a life of separation and spends his time alone with his one passion—trains. When a series of events leaves him living in an out-of-service train depot in rural New Jersey, he is unwittingly drawn into the lives of two other loners.

The Station Agent seems to have been written especially for Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, and Bobby Cannavale. They are near perfection as the principal cast, squaring off in opposite corners and each fighting, in his or her own way, the urge to connect. Their performances only add to the accomplishment of director/screenwriter Tom McCarthy, who has crafted a small film of rare beauty. How refreshing to see a simple story told with such grace and elegance. McCarthy uses no extra fluff in concocting this oddball relationship. Each moment in the film is pure and accumulates organically to form a moving character study. Charming and blessed with a sweet humanity, The Station Agent reveals ultimately that even isolation is better when shared.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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