A film about an ordinary man who writes poetry is, in fact, a poem to ordinary people.
Trying to make this film sound a worthwhile watch is difficult because the usual way in which we talk about films doesn’t truly apply.
There is no major drama, no huge arguments, any slight issues are resolved with a phone call or a cup-cake. It’s like when my Dad asks me have I had a busy day and all I did was go to work and then put the washing-machine on so I say ‘Oh not really’ and yet it’s not like I’ve been sitting around in my pyjamas all day eating chocolate hob-nobs. Things have happened, I did actual things, but not worth making a fuss about.
And so this film is just that – unfussy, ordinary, normal.
But not boring. Not for one moment, and here credit is definitely due to Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani. Without their engaging performances it would have been two hours of absolutely nothing. OK, so Farahani is perhaps just verging on manic pixie but they are both clearly content in the relationship and she is a cheerful, believable character who does things for herself and has plans for her future. Adam Driver though is truly outstanding in just driving a bus around, taking the dog for a walk, and writing his poetry. There is nothing showy about his character, there’s no scenery chewing, yet he is totally believable. I would feel completely safe if he were driving my bus.
Something in the tone, pace and even small-town setting put me in mind of the films of Kore-eda Hirokazu, where major drama is often absent and the gentle pace of life and day-to-day events keep things moving forwards.
Just like real life.