Review: The Only Living Boy in New York (2017)

The Only Living Boy in New York (2017)

Directed by: Marc Webb | 85 minutes | drama | Actors: Callum Turner, Jeff Bridges, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cynthia Nixon, Kiersey Clemons, Tate Donovan, Wallace Shawn, Anh Duong, Debi Mazar, Ben Hollandsworth, John Bolger, Bill Camp, Richard Bekins, Ryan Speakman, Oliver Thornton, Alexander Sokovikov, Ed Jewett, Amy Hohn, James Saito, Adam Siegel, Madhur Jaffrey, Peter Francis James

Thomas Webb isn’t quite sure what to do with his life yet. Just graduated, he lives in a small apartment in Manhattan. He dreams of a life as a writer, preferably a life shared with his semi-platonic girlfriend Mimi. Then suddenly everything happens. Thomas meets his new neighbor, an older decrepit type who turns out to be a friend and advisor. Mimi reports that she is leaving for Croatia and in between Thomas catches his father in a close embrace with a beautiful woman. Who is not his mother.

Thus the synopsis of ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’.

It’s always a bit cheap to immediately link any drama set in Manhattan to Woody Allen, but in this case you can’t escape it. As with Allen, we move here in the circles of the intelligentsia, we follow conversations about art and philosophy, we deal with psychologization on the square millimeter, there is room for humor and in the end everything revolves around love and relationships. Moreover, the love for New York splashes off the screen.

Unfortunately, the comparison with Allen doesn’t work out well. The dialogues lack sharpness, the characters are barely developed, the scenario is crammed with all kinds of barely relevant developments and the humor is rather laborious. At the same time, the chemistry is missing in the most important relationship of all and the whole story is ultimately too contrived.

It also doesn’t stop in terms of acting. Jeff Bridges turns artistic neighbor WF into a typical Bridges character (crusted and decrepit) and that doesn’t work. Callum Turner (missing link between Jesse Eisenberg and Arnon Grunberg) doesn’t tan, Kate Beckinsale acts too aloof, Pierce Brosnan too routine. Only Cynthia Nixon brings some life to the brewery, as Thomas’s bipolar mother.

Despite all those negatives, ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ is not a punishment to watch. It flows nicely and doesn’t last too long. But even less so, Woody Allen would have made a better movie out of this material.

Comments are closed.