Stranger Than Paradise
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Although Jim Jarmusch made his directorial debut with Permanent Vacation (1982), Stranger than Paradise (1984) marked his breakthrough as a major American filmmaker. One of the most deadpan comedies ever committed to film, Stranger than Paradise suggests a Buster Keaton film written by Samuel Beckett and Jack Kerouac and directed by Andy Warhol. Willie (John Lurie) is a small-time gambler whose distant cousin Eva (Eszter Balint) is moving to America from Eastern Europe and informs him that she'll need to stay with him for ten days. Willie isn't happy to have Eva around, but after… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Not a lot to it, certainly, but the acting and performances combine to produce an obliquely effective study of the effect of landscape upon emotion, and the wry, dry humour is often quite delicious."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"It's a hipster version of Marty."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"the American Dream inverted, that its characters are carefree is a by-product not of sharing in the Dream, but of dealing with life on the margins."
‑ Jay Antani,
"A whimsical picaresque tale."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"...a love-it-or-hate-it sort of endeavor."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Jarmusch constructs from basic ingredients a complex of narrative symmetry and existential ennui pointing to something far more resonant than the sum of its parts."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"Overrated but solid understated comedy."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Its characters' vacant aspirations are equated by Stranger Than Paradise's lack of conventional purpose - this is the film's idiosyncratic strength."
‑ Rumsey Taylor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"It's a unique, indelible and hilarious film, and certainly one of the best of its era."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"... like a French New wave film by way of Bela Tarr, directed with a hipster American comic sensibility and an outsider's fascination with the details of the everyday."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"This austere, minimalist comedy put NY's East Village and Jim Jarmusch on the map, displaying unique sensibility and aesthetics (single long shots). Though only his second work, it's still Jarmusch's best picture--by far."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The movie is not about plot. It is about mood, and to a lesser extent about character."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
More reviews for Stranger Than Paradise on Rotten Tomatoes