Paterson (Driver) is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey — they share the name.
Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer; he goes home to his wife, Laura (Farahani).
By contrast, Laura's world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily, each a different and inspired project. Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his gift for poetry.
The film quietly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.