Verdict: 3 / 5
If you don’t have a life, get someone else’s. When everyone you cared about hates you, when your girlfriend thinks you are boring (and you agree with her), when you hate your job and when you have lost your only shot at achieving greatness what do you do? You cut and run.
Wallace Avery (Colin Firth) is a former professional golf player who, after finding himself divorced, unhappy, unappreciated and bored, fakes his own death. He then assumes the identity of an Arthur Newman, with a plan to teach golf at a resort in the Midwest. On his journey he assists a young troubled women, Charlotte Fitzgerald (Emily Blunt), who lands up joining him on his journey.
Arthur Newman can be summed up in these words: dysfunctional, arbitrary, weird and strangely soothing. The truth is that, whatever name you call him by, Wallace Avery is undoubtedly boring. He makes the perfect picture of the socially awkward uncle who appears to lack depth, substance and personality but is secretly repressing a psychopath underneath that homemade sweater. If it had not been for the exceptional and seasoned acting ability of Firth, this may very well have been a boring story about a boring person. As the story develops, his bizarre relationship with a woman half his age brings out a deep thinking and deep feeling Arthur Newman who begins to gain a long overdue vision for his life. Blunt also brings a great performance that really pushed her to break out of the more commercial roles we have seen from her in the past. Contrary to your initial cringe reaction of the awkward uncle and young beauty falling into bed together, when the time comes you probably won’t be too grossed out; perhaps this reaction is because by the time they do start having an intimate relationship you are already caught up in their reality.
Besides some really odd moments in the film, like when the abandoned girlfriend starts having unusual attractions towards Newman’s son or when the two travellers begin breaking into people’s houses to role play their lives and taint their bed sheets, Arthur Newman and the world created within it is really not that off-putting, in fact, it is actually quite quirky and relatable.