Box art for The Station Agent

The Station Agent

comedy, drama

Winner of 2003 Sundance Film Festival awards, The Station Agent stars Emmy Award winner Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale in a comedy about friendship that will have you smiling long after the final credits.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5

A quiet joy with breathtaking performances.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extremely strong language and sexual references, including out of wedlock pregnancies. Characters drink and smoke a lot and one becomes drunk. There are some sad deaths (offscreen) and some mild peril (no one hurt). The thoughtlessness and prejudice Fin experiences are sensitively portrayed and there is a lovely friendship that transcends age and race.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about why Olivia only could be friends with Joe after meeting Fin and what made each of the characters begin to want to be with each other.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 25
    see all The Station Agent reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Mr. Dinklage projects both size and intelligence in the fascinating reticence of his face.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Thursday, February 26, 2004

Fresh: The best advice to filmgoers who appreciate smart, mature, humanist movies is, simply, Go.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, October 17, 2003

Fresh: The Station Agent never leaves its sleepy patch of New Jersey. But when it's over, you know you've been somewhere.

- Charles Taylor,, Saturday, November 15, 2003

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Having just recently gotten into the HBO TV series "Game of Thrones" and finding the character and Golden Globe winning acting of Peter Dinklage very appealing, I decided to look back at one of his major leading roles in The Station Agent. I had seen this film years ago and liked it a lot but on a repeat viewing, I enjoyed it even more. Fin (Peter Dinklage) is a young man born with dwarfism that has consistently struggled to fit into society. He has a passion for trains and works in a shop selling such items but when his only friend and co-worker dies, he finds that in his late friends will, he has been left an abandoned train depot in rural New Jersey. Looking for solitude, he packs up his things and moves there only to find unusual friendships developing with struggling artist Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), trying to overcome a personal tragedy of her own and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) an overly friendly Cuban hot-dog vendor, desperate for some form of interaction with people. This plot summary might not sound like much but don't be fooled into thinking this is an uneventful or boring affair. It's far from it. Yes, not a lot is going on this film but that exactly the appeal. It's filled with such attention to detail and strong characterisation that this film is plentiful. I'm a sucker for these type of low-key, subtle and observant dramas and this debut from director Tom McCarthy is a perfect example of that particular sub-genre. It's a slow moving and thoughtful film that sensitively deals with feelings of loneliness and isolation. To embody the emptiness, McCarthy is aided with three superb lead performances which are poignant and heartfelt but more importantly, realistic. Not a lot going is on in their lives but that's the very thing that holds your attention. It's the bond and the relationship they develop with one another that gives this film it's heart. McCarthy handles the material delicately and seems entirely aware of the appeal that these characters have, as are the performers; Dinklage is an actor with many qualities and it's great to see him in a rare but well deserved leading role. Patricia Clarkson is always an actress I've admired and it baffles me why she isn't seen more often. The biggest surprise though, is Bobby Cannavale who provides the comic-relief to the suffering of the other two. That being said, this film isn't the slightest bit depressing despite the subject matter. In fact, it's a charming and absorbing human tale. An original and affecting debut debut from director Tom McCarthy that displays a genuine warmth and respect for struggling individuals. His ability to be perceptive and humorous is rarely captured so well on screen.

- MrMarakai, Sunday, August 26, 2012

4 stars

After little man and train fanatic Finbar (Peter "Tyrion Lannister" Dinklage) inherits an old train station house, he slowly has to abandon his solitude and deal with the quirky new neighbors and unexpected visitors. The lovely story of three unlikely outsiders becoming friends is told with a really sweet sense of humor and carried by three very convincing acting performances. Although there actually isn't much happening besides conversations and walks through rural New Jersey train tracks, it's really entertaining and enchanting. The movie flows really nicely but ends rather suddenly, as if we only had the pleasure to observe their lives for a short period of time. Which is a little sad, it would have been nice to follow those characters around a little longer. Still, a film that beams a had a smile on your face for 90 minutes.

- ironclad1609, Thursday, August 16, 2012

3 stars

People connecting with one another, in the most quaint and mundane of places. I won't deny there's a sweet intrigue between our protagonists, their complex relationships and how they gradually move from point A to B and finally C in their lives. But honestly, there's nothing about the premise that's genuinely enthralling, it's painfully character driven with no consequence. Perhaps I'm desensitized, but I feel like their story could have been told in a premise of greater grandeur, as it stands it's almost one dimensional. Oh woe is me! I am a dwarf! Boo hoo I lost my child and I see you as him! My dad and I own a shitty coffee truck but I have a positive outlook on life! Look at us relate to each other in one boring set piece to the next! Please...

- fb535316333, Friday, July 6, 2012