Arthur Newman - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Arthur Newman Reviews

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Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2014
This got off to a slow start...painfully slow. If it ever picked up I don't know cause I bailed.
Super Reviewer
½ January 13, 2014
An interesting film, with two of my favorite actors. Rather slow at times. I put off watching this movie due to the bad reviews, and listless quality of the trailer. I liked it better than I thought I would, though. A halfway decent, quiet afternoon movie, with a nice ending to it all...
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2013
If you don't have a life, get someone else's.

Good Film! 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, 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 again but 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 out, the surprising convergence in the plot, the game of taking on identities, the psychological depth of being who you are and accepting that. I 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.

Wallace Avery 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 anew life is interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful but fragile Mike, who is also trying to leave her past behind. Drawn to one another, these two damaged souls begin to connect as they 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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2015
Wallace Avery(Colin Firth) is a middle-aged manager of a box store. He is divorced from Mary Alice(Kristin Lehman, of "Motive). Together they have a teenaged son, Grant(Sterling Beaumon). Wallace is also carrying on a non-passionate affair with Mina(Anne Heche). Together, that is not enough for him. So, he fakes his own death and takes up the nom-du-renaissance of Arthur Newman, trying to keep a low profile on his way to a career as a golf pro. However, that changes when he runs into Mike(Emily Blunt) who seems familiar.

"Arthur Newman" is a pleasant surprise, especially as it favors nuance over any kind of cringe factor in its character study of two truly dysfunctional, yet not hopeless, people. Some of that has to do with the movie's tone which honestly does not avoid the darkness in its premise. But most of it has to do with Colin Firth who is excellent in finding the humanity in such an otherwise lost character.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2014
It's a film about a man named Wallace Avery - who takes on the identity of Arthur Newman - that stars Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, so, come one, just how American can this film possibly be? Well, Blunt has been doing a decent job of going Brit on us lately, but Firth, now, he's so British that his name is Colin, and if that doesn't make this film British enough, then the dryness might. Well, maybe this film isn't all that bland, but it can't be easy to bring intrigue into the story of a man who takes up a job as a FedEx floor manager after quitting pro golf... and before faking his own death and beginning an adventure with a disturbed young woman who is also running from her past. ...Actually, in all seriousness, golf is so bland that even when there's a death in its industry, it's faked, so, come on, man, where's the juice? I mean, the last FedEx man who became dead to the world at least found himself struggling to survive in harsh island elements, although, in all fairness, where Chuck Noland only had a volley ball to keep him company, the titular Arthur Newman has Emily Blunt. Okay, fine, I've never fully understood everyone's infatuation with Blunt, but she's not too bad, and at any rate, she's better than nothing, so enjoy, Arthur, you cradle robber. I understand that Firth is only in his early 50s, but man, his American accent, while adequately convincing, makes him sound old, and that doesn't exactly help fight the blandness, nor do certain other problems in the film.

First off, a lot of the film's problems are natural, as it follows a relatively minimalist, light story concept that, as a dramedy, has a fair bit of meat, but rarely takes itself too seriously, although that's not to say that you can't feel the tonal shifts, perhaps too much. Again, this film doesn't take itself way too seriously, but the relatively light, if not all-out humorous tone is often broken by seriousness, if not a hint of intensity. The film isn't all over the place with its tone, but it is decidedly uneven, even if most every notable aspect in storytelling keeps consistent in holding tropes, which craft a path that is too predictable for the narrative to flow as smoothly as it probably should. Natural shortcomings are considerable and limit bite, which is further staled by familiarity, yet there are more direct instruments of blandness, and, as you can imagine, they pertain to pacing. While the final product is by no means all that long, Becky Johnston's script offers repetitiously draggy story structuring that is made all the more meandering-feeling by meditative direction by Dante Ariola that, due to the aforementioned natural shortcomings, has only so much material to flavor up with thoughtfulness. This results in dry spells, of which there are plenty, and while there is enough heart to this dramedy to keep entertainment value adequate and charm abundant, dull moments ice an under-baked effort that ultimately collapses as fairly underwhelming. That being said, the film doesn't fall as far behind potential as some are saying, having only so much potential, to be sure, but plenty of endearing heart, and even aesthetic value.

There's little uniqueness and depth to Eduard Grau's cinematography, but there's a certain lovely ruggedness to it that is still arguably not quite as tasteful as Nick Urata's score, which is formulaic, but has a certain minimalist heart to it that is admittedly pretty beautiful. Sure, aesthetic value is limited, but it is nonetheless present, with slight dynamicity to capture layers that are truly established in Becky Johnston's script. Johnston's writing, while formulaic, flawed in tonal and pacing consistency, and even pretty far-fetched at times, isn't too shabby, offering some subtly witty humor, but being about as dramatic as anything, with a limited attention to intensity that is still deep enough to establish a certain degree of intrigue, particularly behind characterization that is brought to life by the performances. Material is limited, of course, but the talented leads do what they can and end up going pretty far, with Colin Firth being subtly charismatic and subtly layered in a subdued portrayal of a decent, but flawed man seeking a new life, while Emily Blunt proves to be, well, downright excellent, conveying a sense of mystery and expressing a wide range - which covers most everything from free-spiritedness to anguish - that capture the depths of a scarred woman on the run with so much assurance that Blunt ultimately stands as easily one of the most effective attributes of the final product. Blunt's material stands to be more consistent, but there are enough highlights to this performance to make it one of Blunt's best, worthy of being paired up with a performance by Firth that further carries this effort. Really, there are a fair couple of aspects to draw some heart out of an interesting story concept, with one of those aspects being Dante Ariola's direction, which is often too dry for you to overlook shortcomings, but still carries a thoughtfulness to pacing that allows you to also soak up the strengths. Ariola's tasteful plays on filmmaking aspects create a meditativeness that captures certain areas of the drama, and enough of the lightheartedness to create static charm, which may not entertain thoroughly (To tell you the truth, about the funniest thing about this film is the fact that it's director is named Dante [u]Ariola[/u]), but does about as much as anything in establish enough engagement value to make the final product an endearing, if somewhat forgettable dramedy.

When the heat has died down, natural limitations in meat are emphasized enough by tonally uneven, formulaic and even blandly draggy storytelling for the final product to sputter out as underwhelming, but through fine cinematography and score work, decent writing, solid performances by Colin Firth and - most of all - Emily Blunt, and endearing direction, "Arthur Newman" is left standing as a charming and sometimes effective light drama, in spite of its problems.

2.5/5 - Fair
November 21, 2013
The fun part is to see Colin Firth fading into a workaday middle-aged man. The female lead is incredibly mis-casted. She inspires no sympathy but annoyance. This film fails on having her as a companion for self-discovery.
April 9, 2013
I don't know how this movie was so terrible with Colin Firth & Emily Blunt in it. And while I do think Firth & Blunt were great and made the most of what they had to work with, I really struggled to finish it.
October 16, 2013
The film got ridiculous very quickly. i expected a lot more considering the two lead actors but nope, just blah and ridiculous.
September 23, 2013
Arthur Newman, starring Oscar winner Colin Firth, is dour, strains credulity and plays like a lame tv movie that even Lifetime wouldn't be caught dead airing. Director Dante Ariola, working from a debut script by Becky Johnston that is reportedly a few decades old, takes Firth and the equally talented Emily Blunt on a typical road movie journey, but one where pretty much nothing happens. Having faked his death and abandoned his family, Firth, taking the alias Arthur Newman, attempts to start anew. He comes across thief Blunt, also traveling under a false name, and the two set out to Terre Haute, Ind. where Arthur apparently has an offer to be a resident golf pro at some club. In short, Firth makes an unbelievable sad sack, while Blunt struggles with a poorly written role. This is indie filmmaking that gives indie filmmaking a bad name. Here's a movie that has no reason for being.
½ September 23, 2013
"Arthur Newman" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Mediocre) ...

The Good: As usual, Colin Firth and Emily Blunt turn in great performances. The story itself was a good idea and speaks to all of us. At one time or another in our lives, we've all wondered what it was like to be someone else.

The Bad: Poorly executed and becomes uninteresting and slow. That is extremely disappointing since it had potential.
½ September 23, 2013
"Arthur Newman" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Mediocre) ...

The Good: As usual, Colin Firth and Emily Blunt turn in great performances. The story itself was a good idea and speaks to all of us. At one time or another in our lives, we've all wondered what it was like to be someone else.

The Bad: Poorly executed and becomes uninteresting and slow. That is extremely disappointing since it had potential.
May 8, 2013
slow plodding and uninteresting and a waste of some gr8 actors i think this is the worst ,movie i've seen this year
September 6, 2013
Ho-hum. Arthur Newman in a word. At first, Arthur Miller is actually Wallace Avery ... a man tired of his humdrum life that includes: a mediocre job and love life, a divorce, an un-spectacular apartment, a tired routine, a boring car, broken dreams, depression, and a very strained (practically non-existent) relationship with his young teenage son. Wallace Avery (Colin Firth - The King's Speech, A Single Man) has had enough of his sad life and decides to purchase a new name and identity and get a fresh start ... and this is where Arthur Newman comes into being. Staging a sad disappearance at a Florida beach, Wallace Avery vanishes overnight and Arthur Newman drives north out of Florida as a new man in a new-ish car. A one-time golf pro, Arthur used his fake identity months ago in hopes of securing a new job as a golf pro at a small private club in Terre Haute, Indiana. On his way to Indiana, Arthur crosses paths with Michaela "Mike" Fitzgerald (Emily Blunt - The Devil Wears Prada, Looper), a pick-pocket/con-artist depressed over a failed relationship and the institutionalization of her twin sister. After she quickly learns his secret, the two reluctantly find themselves linked to one another through common situations and understandings of one another. His solo trip to Indiana becomes a road trip and the pair bond with one another and form a romantic attraction with one another ... while they break into houses and role-play (temporarily stealing others' identities I presume?). If that sounds as if it just came out of left-field ... that is exactly how it feels while watching it too. Before any explanation is given, I assumed she became an instant schizophrenic or something and was confused. I am still somewhat confused by its purpose and inclusion -- and it doesn't just happen once or twice. The film loses its way when this third layer of "pretending" began and it never fully recovers as each scenario becomes more grandiose than the last. While these two are living it up and "finding themselves" while pretending to be someone other than the person they are already pretending to be (?), those they've left behind in Florida (Anne Heche - Donnie Brasco; Lucas Hedges - Moonrise Kingdom) miss them. The movie is a jumbled mess and I don't even know who I am supposed to like and root for. First-time director Dante Ariola couldn't keep this all in order as he had too much going on to keep straight. When he lost control of the ship, we were all doomed.
½ August 20, 2013
If you look in the dictionary under 'Really Slow Movie' you should see Arthur Newman. To me this is 100% the fault of the director because the acting is actually the only thing that keeps the movie from being one of the worst films of the year.

Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are able to generate a real emotional connection between each other and the audience, and make the film emotionally compelling. That being said, the dialog is strained and the story is so drawn out it never gets to where it should. I think this movie could have been a short film where the tale unfolds in 15-minutes. This would have been a great movie.

This is sad, because I was very excited about this film coming out. I liked the fact that the producers released the first 10-minutes of the film early to build awareness. I liked the concept of the story and liked the cinematography. I just struggle with any real redeeming value from this 100-minute movie (that felt at least like 4-hours while watching it).
April 30, 2013
Critics don't like this, and evidently audiences like it even less. I like it, though. I have a soft-spot for movies where odd, quirky people find each other (either platonically or romantically), and I like road pictures, and this one is both. It is something of an old plot, where the older, duller guy meets the vivacious, somewhat crazy gal. Here the two are played by terrific British actors (Firth and Blunt) using American accents. Direction and camera work are okay, and the dialog doesn't exactly sparkle, but it did comment on the American belief in the ability to reinvent oneself. I certainly enjoyed myself.
April 29, 2013
Was surprised to see the negative buzz! Colin Firth and Emily Blunt were excellent, the story was fun. See it before you judge.
April 29, 2013
I saw it last night and really enjoyed it. Colin Firth & Emily Blunt were electric-top notch performances from both!
April 27, 2013
This is a story of a man, Colin Firth, whose son despises him, and his girl friend gives him a hard time. He then decides to fake his death, take a new identity, disappear, and start a new life.

Along the way he helps a girl, Emily Hunt, that has also taken a new identity, and is down on her luck. She becomes his companion and follows him to Indiana to work as a golf pro.

They are both running away from their family problems trying to start a new life. During their adventure, they eventually realize what they must do to make their lives complete again.

The storyline does keep your attention during the entire production, with certain parts left for interpretation.

The last four scenes of the movie got me misty eyed.
April 27, 2013
I can't believe only 13% of the audience liked this movie and 23% of the reviewers liked this movie because I LOVED it! Everyone dreams of starting all over again with a new name and new place and actors Colin Firth and Emily Blunt get to do just that, at least for awhile. I thought he was totally believable as the disgruntled man in the middle of his life and she was wonderful as the girl who has had major traumas. I loved the adventure and I thought the ending was perfect, a la 'real' life.
½ April 3, 2016
its a sweet movie but has way to many slow points to carry any kind of momentum
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