Station Agent, The (2003)

Drama Rated R

There isn’t a character, location or situation in The Station Agent that could exist anywhere other than in a screenplay. Excruciatingly earnest and hopelessly contrived, this is the story of Finbar McBride, a reclusive, train-obsessed man with dwarfism (Peter Dinklage) who inherits an abandoned, small-town depot. Surrounded by batch of quirky characters, Finbar eventually learns to come out of his shell. Cue the loud-mouthed “ethnic” coffee truck proprietor (Bobby Cannavale) who sets up shop outside the depot every day even though there isn’t a customer for miles around. Cue the distressed mother (Patricia Clarkson) mourning the death of her son by forcing a friendship with Finbar. And let’s not even get into the way the picture wastes Michelle Williams. Writer-director Tom McCarthy, making his debut after years as an actor, has a noble goal: to create a drama around a dwarf that isn’t broad comedy or fantasy. But the entire enterprise feels so hollow, it’s hard not to think that Elf served Dinklage better.