Movie Review, The Station Agent directed by Thomas McCarthy, who is also the film’s screenwriter

By MILT GROSS | Dec 30, 2013

This movie was so good, I declare it gooder than good. Or, I suppose you’d prefer I called it better than good.

Operating a Hoboken, NJ model train store owned by Henry Styles, his only friend, Finbar McBridge, a dwarf, is told the shop must close when his only friend dies. A railroad fanatic, he moves into an abandoned train station in rural New Jersey.* He had inherited the station, and wants to live there in solitude.

But solitude is not to be his, first interrupted and befriended by Joe Oramas who is a Cuban American operating a roadside snack shop, artist Olivia Harris who is mourning the death of her son, Cleo is a young African American girl who shares Fin's interest in trains and finally convinces him to lecture her class about them, and young Emily who is the local librarian who becomes dismayed to discover she is pregnant by her ne'er-do-well boyfriend.

The story of this 2003 89-minute DVD continues in a low key manner, but includes Fin and Joe taking walks along the railroad tracks with Joe armed with a camera provided by Olivia. A climax approaches as Olivia’s ex-husband appears, and is rejected soundly by Olivia.

Just as the climax has you wondering if there will be violence and what kind, the movie comes to an end with....well, it will be worth your viewing it to find out about that ending.

If you want to read a lot about the movie, go to Wikipedia....amazing Wikipedia. sells the DVD for $4.82. Ours arrived from Netflix. Wherever you find your copy, it will be worth the price.

Definitely a gooder movie.

*New Jersey has always been my favorite state of which to make fun.

When I was a kid, I used to read the Laddie series of dog stories, authored by Albert Payson Terhune, who lived somewhere in northern New Jersey. Someone recently told me there is a park where his farm was. Sometime when I get brave enough to leave Maine for a trip, I may try to find it.

As a young man living in neighboring Pennsylvania, I remember that when I attempted to drive to the Jersey shore, there were few or no signs to tell me which way to drive. Maybe the New Jersey residents removed them to have fun with a Pennsylvania driver.

In the middle of the night, I pulled off the Garden Expressway or New Jersey Turnpike -- don’t remember which -- to take a nap. But there were so many apparent hoodlums roaming the parking lot, I drove away with the comment to my family, “It’s safer to fall asleep driving than to be mugged while sleeping in this parking lot.”

On my Island Explorer tourist bus route through Acadia National Park, I befriended a hiker. I pointed him to some of the park’s trails, and he would later report his adventures. One day he said, “I’m from the country’s worst state.” I replied, “Oh, you’re from New Jersey.” “Shh,” he whispered, “don’t tell anybody.” “You just did,” I commented.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013

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