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|Index||26 reviews in total|
This road movie, featuring solid performances from its main players,
doesn't seem to know where it's going. While "Arthur Newman" presents
many quirky or compelling tableaux, I was rather frustrated by the
filmmaker's (Dante Ariola) detours and dead ends. Or perhaps it was
writer Becky Johnston's tepid story that ran out of fuel.
Frankly, I didn't care one way or another if the main characters ever resolved their respective conflicts, and after the first thirty minutes I felt like I was simply watching the same scene over and over again, like an endless roundabout. I was so uninvolved in the relationship(s) that it felt like nothing of any real substance was truly at stake or on the line.
Arthur Newman (2012)
Though the whole enterprise is built on a huge and somewhat false contrivance (a man taking on a new identity and picking up a troubled woman along the way who also is playing games with her identity), it all works better than you might think. And it's largely because of Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, both strong and understated leads. Blunt in particular has qualities that are interesting without merely being "star" material. Firth, of course, is a mega-star and he's playing his quiet man with familiarity here.
The director Dante Ariola is only on his second film and the writer is on his first (after a few screenplays based on other people's stories). And I guess it shows in many little ways, including a script that doesn't seem believable at times. Then at other times it's believable but not that interesting. What keeps it floating through these waves is a sense of pace and ease with the two actors, who of course are seasoned and respected stars.
This is both a downer movie with two unhappy leads trying to survive their lives and a feel-good movie about people who find something in each other to survive. It's not quite a romance that develops (it's not "Leaving Las Vegas"), but there is a kind of loving co-dependence. It's meant to be deeper and more moving than it is mostly a issue of the writing againbut you get the drift and it works overall.
In the end, at the end, you wish so much it had been more than it was. It has so many interesting qualities that don't get pulled outthe surprising convergence in the plot, the game of taking on identities, the psychological depth of being who you are and accepting thatI felt let down by what did happen. The solutions are a bit obvious and almost cheap, depending on formulas seen before. Which is too bad because the set-up and the actors are worth more than that.
Arthur Newman (Colin Firth) is trying to live a new life. He was formerly a struggling golf pro and shipping manager with a nice-looking girlfriend (Anne Heche). But, things were not going well. He was also estranged from his almost-a-teen son. So, since he lives near Jacksonville Florida, he fakes his own death by drowning and takes off. Newman, a fake name for his newly acquired life, is on his way to Terre Haute Indiana to become a posh country club golf pro, with made-up credentials, for the most part. But, on the long journey, he stumbles upon a lady, Mike, er, Michaela, (Emily Blunt) who may be suffering more than he is. She is drunk and Arthur views her being taken to jail by the police. Giving a made up story, Arthur springs her from jail and stays with her until she is sober again. Tentatively, they strike up a friendship, as Mr. Newman learns that Mike may not be her REAL name, either. In any case, Mike agrees to go to Indiana with this handsome man. Along the way, they strangely break into houses that are temporarily empty, try on clothes, take pictures and pretend even more. But, as Arthur soon learns, Mike does have some truly intense baggage in her past. Will they succeed in forging new lives without consequences? This somber, touching film is dead serious most of the time. Oh, the scenes from the dress-up days have humor and there are occasionally funny lines. But, mostly, this movie deals with very complex issues and is not really a light-hearted flick. Naturally, Firth and Blunt, excellent thespians both, do fine work and look great together. Also wonderful is the changing scenery, the supporting cast, and the courage to tackle the anything-but-fairy-tale life of its two main characters. No, its not a movie to watch when you, the viewer, have some sobering problems in your own life. But, fans of these two British thespians will want to try this one, too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was almost too much for me. I couldn't go through it at
once. I had to stop it around 20 minutes before the end, and continue
three days later. No, it wasn't scary, no it wasn't too sad, it wasn't
bad, and it wasn't too special, either. It seemed shallow on the
surface, but getting deeper and deeper as you peal the layers of the
main characters - Wallace/Arthur and Charlotte/Mike. They were too
dysfunctional, yet too perfect for each other. It is sometimes weird
how not opposites, but similarities attract. And that attraction is
much stronger, although with a string of weirdness. It's a way of
approving yourself, finding comfort and finding accomplice in being
yourself ... Two reasons made me stop. Firstly, the conflict in me
caused by the depressive tone of the movie versus the fact that I liked
Wallace and Charlotte and on some level justified their actions,
especially Wallace's. And second because I knew they have to get apart.
That was the only answer. That was the right thing to do.
However, I was happy to see growth in both characters at the end, and the stable and rightful personality of Wallace overpowering his weaknesses and momentary confusion, as well as influencing Charlotte to find that better person in herself.
I didn't really like Anne Heche's character. She was cold, dull and in a way stuck to a routine. Although Wallace seemed boring on the outside, he wasn't with Charlotte. He was daring, funny and passionate. He was in the here and now. Minus the crimes they did, Wallace deserves such kind of relationship.
I'm giving this movie an 8/10. It made me think, it made me re-think some of my personal stuff, it made me more grateful for what I have, even if only for an hour and a half, it made me realize that you can become whoever you want to become, but you can never escape from yourself.
Line that will stay with me: "It's a lot easier to love a dead man, isn't it?"
I watched Arthur Newman simply because I found it by accident. While
it's not the best film I've seen, I do believe everyone did a credible
job with very little material. Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are good,
doing the best they could with the somewhat underdeveloped characters.
However, I feel the characters are presented as such on purpose, to
make of them what we personally will.
The film moves slowly, but is in no way boring. An experienced film buff would be fine with its pace and be relatively engaged in the story line as well.
Arthur Newman is not for a generic audience. It requires a specific taste in films to be enjoyed for what it is - a thought-provoking story
I guess I can see why Colin Firth would be attracted to the role of a
depressed American, but really, the script wasn't up to his level.
Firth and Emily Blunt star in "Arthur Newman," a 2012 film directed by Dante Ariola. Wallace Avery (Firth) is unhappy at his job as a floor manager. He's divorced, has a girlfriend (Anne Heche), and a young son who hates him. An excellent golfer, he didn't make it as a pro because of nerves. However, he helped a man with his slice, and as a result, has been offered the job of golf pro at a club in Terre Haute, Indiana. He fakes his death and takes off.
Along the way, he helps a young woman (Blunt) by taking her to the hospital. When she's better, she goes with him. Eventually, they become lovers. He finds out she's using a fake identity as well, running from a twin sister who is schizophrenic and may need her.
The two of them start to break into people's houses and take on their identities and make love in their beds.
This is a pretty boring, slow movie enlivened by the performances of the two leads. Along the way we learn something about the characters, but not enough to become truly invested in them. We just know they're miserable. We know Wallace's son hates him because he wasn't there for him, but we don't know why or what went on between them, or what happened with his ex-wife, and why his girlfriend is discontented.
It's sad because this could have been an amazing movie. It's about two people that learn what they love about each other and their value to those left behind. But it doesn't go into these facets deeply enough.
Both Firth and Blunt are excellent, trying to flesh out what's there. In the end, I was sympathetic to the characters but not really involved with them. It was sort of like giving street directions to two strangers and then wishing them luck.
Review: I found this storyline to be weak and a bit silly. If your
going to fake your own death, surely your going to change the way you
look and try and keep undercover. Anyway, the director really didn't
think the whole storyline through and the acting, from these 2
A-listers, wasn't that terrific. The way that Colin Firth's character
thoroughly planned his own death to become a golf pro, ditching his son
in the process, was a recipe for disaster right from the beginning and
when Blunts character was added to the mix, it just made things worse.
The love story was predictable and the ending was very sketchy.
Basically the director left it up to the audience to make up there own
mind about Firth's character returning to reality, which could have
been written much better. Anyway, I did loose interest halfway through
the movie and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Disappointing!
Round-Up: Colin Firth's career really does have it's up and downs. After winning the Oscar for The King's Speech, which he did deserve, and starring in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, he hasn't really starred in any major roles. With the release of Before I Go To Sleep coming out soon, maybe this will bring him back to the limelight. Emily Blunt seems to act the same in all of her movies, but she has been cast in some big budget blockbusters. From The Devil Wears Prada to the Edge Of Tomorrow, I doubt that this low budget movie will damage her career. As the movie is based around these 2 characters, there isn't that much to say about the rest of the cast, but I was expecting something better from these 2 major stars.
Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $208,000 (Terrible!)
I recommend this movie to people who are into there dramas about a man faking his own death to work in a gold club. 3/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) hates his job. His ex-wife and son hate
him, and he's blown his one shot at living his dream. Not wanting to
face all this, he stages his own death and buys himself a new identity
as Arthur Newman. However, Arthur's road trip towards a new life is
interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful but fragile Mike (Emily
Blunt), who is also trying to leave her past behind. Drawn to one
another, these two damaged souls begin to connect as they stalk, break
into empty homes and take on the identities of the absent owners:
elderly newlyweds, a high-roller and his Russian lady, among others.
Through this process, Arthur and Mike discover that what they love most
about each other are the identities they left at home, and their real
journey, that of healing, begins.
The characters may be quirky, but they're not likable. Loneliness can be depressing, but Wallace doesn't have much reason to leave everything and everyone behind in such an inhumane way. Him and Mike stalking and living other people's lives in their homes, wearing their clothes, sleeping on their bed to cope with their own problems was quite weird and frankly, not much fun to watch. The effect is greater if you tune out the joyful background score. That might have been what they were going for, but it doesn't translate well on-screen. Great actors like Emily Blunt and Colin Firth are simply wasted here. They have no chemistry with one another and during many moments, Wallace just seemed like her father which was disturbing. I also don't know why Mina (Anne Heche) was written the way she was. This grown, professional woman was like a meek teenager around that little kid. Someone realized how banal the whole thing was and did the only thing they could to distract people from realizing that. They threw in a lot of a half-naked Emily Blunt and showed lots of acts which just wasn't warranted and came off as tacky. The movie tries to be thoughtful, but it cannot sustain that illusion. There's also a half-baked, contrived message in there somewhere to treasure what you already have or something. Unfortunately, it still doesn't salvage this movie from being incredibly boring.
Like many of the viewers I chose to watch this for the stars, King
George VI and Queen Victoria (Firth and Blunt) But I would have given
it a pass if I had looked up the reviews before taking it out of my
local library . Big mistake.
Never have I seen a film so consistently panned, and never have I thought the critics so consistently mistaken! Both the professional critics and other amateur viewers. To be fair, the latter gave it slightly better ratings, but not much better. Few of either stripe liked it.
Granted, it is not an easy film to watch. Its not a comedy and its not a road movie though it is zany and it does take place on the road. In fact it is in a category all its own, and for anyone who understands Colin Firth's line "Family just crushes your heart, doesn't it?", it is a deeply moving observation of what it means to be human. I won't say I came away from the movie feeling good, but I did come away feeling less alone.
These are the last words spoken in the film, before each of the leading characters returns separately from their wild escapade to shoulder their family responsibilities. We see, and feel, them doing this with no words spoken.
Charlotte(Mike) "Good bye, Wallace"
Wallace(Arthur) "Don't worry. I know where to find you!"
I give it 10 out of 10 Don't miss it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is hated by his own son, and is completely
bored of his lifestyle. He fakes his death, and assumes a new identity
named Arthur Newman to recommence his life. He meets a troubled woman
who calls herself Mike (Emily Blunt) who also happens to be starting
over with her life.
I actually didn't mind this film. It's a decent story. Colin Firth & Emily Blunt are on the top of their game, and managed to make this movie thoroughly watchable. My problem with the movie is that it seems a bit hollow. It's hard to feel sympathy for someone we don't know much about. Wallace Avery is a man with an estranged son, and a bit of an identity crisis, and I had real issues with it. Despite that Colin Firth was excellent himself, his character isn't that endearing. All we really know is that he's bored of his current lifestyle. I wanted more emotion, more background, and more development with the character. It seemed a little rushed. Emily Blunt's unpredictability was always fun, but like Firth, I also wanted more background on her, despite that Blunt was absolutely tremendous with her performance. I was never bored at all, and it had moments that were really good, but some things were poorly developed to my taste. The ending is rather ambiguous. It doesn't end on a sad note, but all it really tells us is that both of their fantasies of starting a new life is over, and it's back to reality. I appreciated that it had the guts to take a risky route at the end, but more clarity also would have been nice, since the movie is rather depressing to watch.
Final Thoughts: It's certainly worth a look. It'll maintain your interest, if nothing else. Colin Firth & Emily Blunt will get you through it just fine. It's just too bad it was rushed
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