Casper is a young soldier home from Afghanistan on bereavement leave after the death of his father. On his last night in town, a near-miss bar fight in the old neighborhood leads to a chance run-in with his childhood crush Rebecca, now a grad student coping with a foundering academic career and a fraught relationship with her married academic advisor. Over the course of a single night, the two traverse a striking Minnesota cityscape, growing closer but knowing they will inevitably have to part ways at dawn. As the pair muse on the nature of life, fear, youth, and disappointment, at turns falling in love and falling apart, their journey mirrors that of a generation experiencing a collective quarter-life crisis.
Featuring standout performances by rising indie stars Zoe Lister-Jones (Breaking Upwards, Arranged) and Sam Rosen (also one of the film's screenwriters), and supported by cameos from Josh Hartnett and Michael Imperioli, Stuck Between Stations is a portrait of restless youth torn between promise and malaise, and an authentic and affecting snapshot of a generational zeitgeist.
Director's Statement Collapse
Stuck Between Stations is about how, sometimes, the best night of your life happens at the worst possible time. It's a glimpse into the beginning of a relationship between two damaged people in an imperfect moment, and how sometimes the way we present ourselves doesn't always reflect the depth of our character.
Our approach to the film was to give our actors space to act and allow them to build an intimacy. The movie centers around their relationship and growing closer to one another. We wanted to stay intimately involved with both characters for every moment of the film, so in the few moments that they are separated, we split screen to follow along with each of their stories. The journey of the characters drives the story forward, yet they share so many private moments in the quiet city at night. To emphasize this, we tried to strike the right balance between keeping the camera moving subtly and allowing the characters to move within the stillness of the landscapes and locations.
We wanted to give the city a romantic feeling so we made the decision to include rich washes of color in many scenes. Being that the entire film takes place at night, our approach was to try and keep it simple and complement the sodium vapor streetlights you normally see at night. We settled on using a motif of red, yellow, blue, black, white and gray tones, and we tried to be distinct with different colors for different scenes. We also incorporated this design element into our selection of set dressing and wardrobe. Casper is in blue and gray, Rebecca is in black, white, and yellow with a red bag. It was a subtle yet important design element to me that together, they complete this color cycle.
What attracted me to this script was that the two main characters are very contradictory, both to each other and to themselves. She is a driven and ambitious fuckup and he is a slacker who works for the strictest boss you could have. They are strangers despite having so much history in common. Despite all of this, what they have in common nearly overcomes it all. We leave the audience with the contrary feelings of disappointment and with a hope for their future together, because neat and clean happy endings are rare in real life.