The Only Living Boy in New York doesn’t have the magic

Pierce Brosnan and Callum Turner in THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK. Photo credit: Niko Tavernise. Courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions.

The Only Living Boy in New York is doesn’t quite have the magic but the  fault lies with screenwriter Allan Loeb.

Directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Allan Loeb, the film stars Callum Turner, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cynthia Nixon, Kiersey Clemons, and Jeff Bridges.

Thomas Webb (Turner) lives on the Lower East Side even though his parents would rather he live closer to their Upper West Side apartment.  The recent graduate turns to his neighbor, known only as W.F. Gerald (Bridges), a reclusive author.  W.F. is an alcoholic and a writer.  He offers whatever advice he can to Thomas, serving as a mentor in many ways.  This aspect of the film isn’t really covered all that much in the trailer.

What we know going in is that his father, Ethan (Brosnan), is having an affair with a younger woman, Johanna (Beckinsale).  Ethan’s gave up his writing career to become an editor.  He’s one of the best in the business.  Like his father, Thomas also has ventured into writing but Ethan describes the work as “serviceable” so he’s got to figure things out for his career.  Thomas, meanwhile, is determined to end their affair that he ends up sleeping with Johanna in the process, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Mimi (Clemons).  His mom, Judith (Nixon), is a former painter and she has her own issues, including a smoking habit and bipolar disorder.  This family couldn’t be more messed up!

Discussing the third act is impossible without spoiling the film but I’ll just say it’s beautiful and unexpected even though the film isn’t all that great.  The trailer doesn’t really touch on the third act because they’d be giving the film away.  What I can say is that Thomas’ life turns upside down in the process.

Not to be unexpected, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” is a part of the film’s soundtrack.

Webb, who directed the 2009 sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer, doesn’t quite have the same magic in The Only Living Boy in New York.  Part of the blame lies with Allan Loeb’s screenplay.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a film written by Loeb that works, including the late 2016 yawner that was Collateral Beauty.  It’s been a tough year as 2017 also brought us the Loeb-written film, The Space Between Us.

Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions opened The Only Living Boy in New York on August 11, 2017 in five markets before expanding on August 18 to five more markets, including Chicago.  On August 24, the film will expand to 350 screens.


Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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