As the summer winds down, so does the glitz, glamour and ridiculous budget-hungry films. We’re in that stretch of simple practical movies built on plot and performance. Director Marc Webb gives us his second offering of the year (Gifted (2017) was released in April) that is completely devoid of mind numbing special effects. Unlike his previous big budget work, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Webb (no Spider-y pun intended) is sticking to art of character and emotional exploration. The Only Living Boy in New York is just another example of simpler times.
Thomas (Callum Turner) has always existed in the shadow of his father, Ethan (Pierce Brosnan), and has never lived up to the lofty expectations that this successful book publisher has set for his son. While disappointment seems to a constant feeling under the family umbrella, it is Thomas that often tries to keep his distance and be his own man. Besides, he has relationship issues of his own, mostly in the form of his close friend Mimi (Kiersey Clemons) who Thomas hopes will see him in a more intimate light. While enjoying an evening out, Thomas and Mimi happen upon Thomas’ father entertaining another woman at a social establishment. Johanna (Kate Beckinsale) is a beautiful woman and very quickly it’s painfully obvious that she is more than a friend to Ethan.
Flooded with emotions, Thomas seeks out this mystery woman with one objective in mind. He wants to stop her from poisoning the relationship between his mother (Cynthia Nixon) and father. During his pursuit to end this blasphemous extramarital affair, Thomas unwittingly puts himself directly in her seductive crosshair and what comes next is something that he never saw coming. Who can he turn to for guidance and who can he confide in? Luckily for Thomas, he recently found a new acquaintance to confide in. And thankfully, with all that is going on in this young man’s life, this new neighbor (Jeff Bridges) shows up right when Thomas needs someone the most.
If you didn’t know better, you might guess that Woody Allen is the man behind The Only Living Boy in New York. With a list of talent that includes Callum Turner, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale, Kiersey Clemons, Cynthia Nixon, Jeff Bridges, Tate Donovan, Debi Mazar and Tate Donovan, it’s just the kind of ensemble production that Woody Allen is known for. Well that and the fact that it’s based in New York you can’t help but start to wonder. The one huge difference though is the fact that the runtime is only 88 minutes long. That settles that. Director Marc Webb uses all of the talent at his disposal, and very efficiently as well.
The tone of The Only Living Boy in New York will most likely resonate a bit more with a slightly more mature audience. Even though it includes some cheesy and comedic moments, the crux of this movie lives and breathes in drama department. I don’t feel that this is one that must be seen in theaters but I do want to say that it is entertaining, especially once the full story gets going and starts to form. Some critics may beat it down a little but I say give it a chance. It’s basically an extended 90 minute version of