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Melancholic road movie with great performances
on April 27, 2013
Imagine my surprise when out of the blue and without any pre-release buzz or ads this movie showed on a single screen for all of Greater Cincinnati this weekend. I figured that this will not stick around very long and hence I went to see it right away.
"Arthur Newman" (2013 release; 100 min.) brings the story of a man (played by Colin Firth) who is in the dumps: he just got fired from his job, his ex-wife does not care for him, and his 13 yr. old son hates the mere sight of him. As the movie opens, we see Colin Firth acquiring a new identity, actually someone who passed away a few years ago named Arthur Newman. He then fakes his own death and takes off, as a "new man". Arthur plans on driving from Florida to Terre Haute, IN, where a job as a golf instructor awaits. But on his first night on the road, he makes the acquaintance of a young woman (played by Emily Blunt), who herself is running away from her own troubles, and using her twin sister's identity ("Mike") along the way. Mike decides to join Arthur on the trip to Indiana. To tell you much more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: first, this is a road movie for the most part, as we follow the two main characters from motel to hotel, and from town to town, on their way to Indiana. Second, the main characters are engulfed in melancholy as on the one hand they are running away from something, yet at the same time are pining for love and someone who understands their problems. Both performances from Colin Firth and Emily Blunt are ace from start to finish. Blunt has been on an incredible run recently (just last year alone I saw her in Your Sister's Sister, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Looper and the Five Year Engagement, and she shone in just about all of them), and she continues that hot streak in this movie.
This movie gathered positive buzz last Fall when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I had been waiting eagerly to see it. The screening I saw this at here in Cincinnati was not particularly well attended, and so I doubt this will stick around long in the theaters. That said, I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, and if you are in the mood for something where things don't blow up every 5 minutes, I would readily recommend "Arthur Newman".