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Despite the natural charisma of its leads, Arthur Newman does little with its intriguing setup, and the result is bland and unconvincing. Read critic reviews
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Wallace Avery, Arthur Newman.
Critic Reviews for Arthur Newman
Audience Reviews for Arthur Newman
Sep 01, 2015Wallace 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.Walter M Super Reviewer
May 03, 2014This got off to a slow start...painfully slow. If it ever picked up I don't know cause I bailed.Bathsheba M Super Reviewer
Jan 13, 2014An 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...Cynthia S Super Reviewer
Jan 09, 2014It'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 - FairCameron J Super Reviewer
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