Stranger Than Paradise


Stranger Than Paradise

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 24


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,590
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Movie Info

Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise is an odd, low-key comedy about trio of misfits--an everyday guy, his Hungarian female cousin, and his geeky best friend--who decide to take a road trip across the United States on the spur of the moment. Over the course of their voyage, they have both good and bad luck, meet a number of bizarre and interesting characters, and are frequently bored. Jarmusch tells his story very slowly and sardonically, which can alienate some viewers. However, those who want to meet him halfway will find Stranger Than Paradise an engaging and unique comedy, with a number of truly funny moments.


John Lurie
as Willie
Cecilia Stark
as Aunt Lottie
Cecillia Stark
as Aunt Lottie
as Man with Money
Tom DiCillo
as Airline Agent
Richard Boes
as Factory Worker
Rockets Redglare
as Poker Player
Harvey Perr
as Poker player
Brian J. Burchill
as Poker player
Tom Docillo
as Airline Agent
Sara Driver
as Girl with Hat
Paul Sloane
as Motel Owner
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Critic Reviews for Stranger Than Paradise

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Stranger Than Paradise

  • Nov 01, 2014
    This is definitely my favorite version of Jarmusch, the dude of stationary solitude and existentialist inertia with an air of coolness. I. Simply. Love this Jarmusch. For starters, Jarmusch was a director of artistic and cultural inspirations: books, films and songs of all ages, Jarmusch is a living amalgamation of styles and trends that refuses the existence of originality. Everything is the result of something previously done and represented either intellectually or stylistically, a philosophy that I fully support. Since the film opens, you can see Jarmusch's aesthetic director stamp, but as the film progresses, you slowly begin to unravel his possible influences. Even if you encountered Jarmusch one day and he told you that you perceived his influences wrong, maybe you wouldn't. When I saw Stranger in Paradise for the first time two weeks ago, a film that I had incorrectly postponed for about 8 years, I clearly witnessed a Nouvelle Vague and Cassavetes-like cinéma vérité hybrid with an irreverent sense of humor. Stranger in Paradise is a film about isolation, which is represented in many forms. 1) Willie is an unproductive small-time gambler living in a small flat located in New York City. He has detached himself completely from human interactions as much as possible, and all he does is to watch TV, drink, smoke, sleep and walk in the dilapidated streets during midnight. 2) His distant cousin, Eva, is moving from Budapest to America, alone, to a place that she doesn't know, and informs him that she will need to stay at his place for 10 days. He is reluctant to this and doesn't like the idea. Family detachment. 3) Eva meets Eddie, Willie's buddy. They get bored together, but the guys develop a fondness for Eva. This smells like a love triangle directed by Eustache. Isolation ensues. 4) Once both grow simultaneously bored out of that monotonous daily routine, strengthening their initially cold relationship in the process, Eva decides to leave with her aunt living in Ohio. Willie now doesn't want to. The pain of being left alone again. 5) Months later, Willie and Eddie win $600 in a poker game and decide to go after Eva in Ohio. Now its their fondness to Eva and the boredom of their isolated life the factors that push them to get rid of this isolation. 6) It's winter in Ohio. The streets are covered with snow. Few people walk in the streets. The aunt, Lottie, also lives alone. There is nothing for the trio to do than look at the frozen surface of the water. 7) The three decide to escape. Detachment once again. This hilarious pattern of being reluctant at first, feeling bored next and escaping to another isolated place in an attempt to get rid of their previous unsatisfactory life stage is repeated from beginning to end. So, for the 1000th time, it is all about detachment and isolation. The minimalist style that captures the barren landscapes along with the unenergetic black-and-white cinematography communicate the same message with a high correlation. Classic directors that inspired this type of films and style had no choice but to use black-and-white in their films. Now that technology has transformed this usage into an artistic decision, it is possible for filmmakers like Jarmusch to rise out of the blue and give an important name to independent cinema while utilizing the beauties of black-and-white to their advantage, because in modernity, people are forced to put attention to the details of the film if it looks so dead in color, or walk away. Personally, I think it looks beautiful in all of its glorious bleakness, dissecting monotony, and choking the alligator. 93/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 24, 2012
    Jim Jarmusch's breakthrough film is this superbly crafted urban tale set in the bleak american landscape, where work is little and oportunity is diminishing. Stranger Than Paradise is integently shot and told by Jarmusch along with the performance strengths of the film's three leads. Each Character has their own intentions and ambitions but cannot get along together enough due to the changing world around them. Jarmusch shows his signatory writing style incorporating smart dialogue with deadpan humour. What really works for this film is the sheer amount of substance and awkward reality that constitutes story's morals.
    Luke E Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Jim Jarmusch is a love-him-or-hate-him kinda guy. His films are always stretched to the extreme (whatever genre they may be) and it requires a specific and finely-tuned taste to like them. Each film in his filmography is completely different from every other. I, for the most part, am not what you'd call a fan, but I do respect his work and him as a filmmaker. Stranger Than Paradise is one of his films that I like. Throughout the course of the film, not much happens and there's not much said, but it's interesting to watch these characters move about in their lives. They go through their daily routine and nothing exciting happens. It's very realistic. Not everyone always has something to say to one another. Sometimes people just get along while not saying anything at all. Scenes like these are so honest and true-to-life that even if you don't like the movie as a whole, you can't help find it somewhat amusing. I feel like every time I take a chance to watch a Jarmusch film, it's a 50/50 that I'll like it. But that's a chance I'm willing to take.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2011
    WIth minimal plot and cast, Jim Jarmusch creates a masterpiece on his first time out.
    Graham J Super Reviewer

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