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The Only Living Boy in New York Movie Review


On paper, The Only Living Boy in New York had a lot going for it. It is helmed by a very good director in Marc Webb, who is responsible for giving us 500 Days of Summer. The cast is incredible, including Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Beckinsale as well as upcoming talents Callum Turner and Kiersey Clemons. This should have been a good movie, or at least it should have been better than the finished product. What we have instead is a cheap version of The Graduate that fails on every level.

The film follows Thomas Webb who is in love with Mimi but despite a one-night stand she is crazy about him but “only as a friend”.  Shortly after hearing this he returns to his apartment complex only to be greeted by his new neighbor known as WF, played by Jeff Bridges, who immediately knows Thomas is having problems with a girl. Thomas then discovers his father is having an affair and after much stalking, Thomas confronts the woman, Johanna (played by Beckinsale), only to develop his own sexual relationship with her. WF becomes a sort of mentor to guide Thomas through the life problems he is currently dealing with.

This film faces many problems. For one, there are too many plotlines to be covered in its short 1 hour and 28 minute runtime.  The characters are totally underdeveloped because of this and it becomes hard to root for any of the characters. The third act of the film, which is used here to tie all the storylines together, is the most intriguing part of the film. The problem is that the ending is so rushed that it gives the audience no time really appreciate it.  By the time the movie starts to sort of make sense it ends and leaves you feeling more frustrated than anything else.

Another big problem here is the actual script. The dialogue given to these characters is so bad and, quite frankly, laughable especially for Kiersey Clemons’ character. There were times where Clemons appeared to be trying to make her lines work but for the most part she was just going through the motions. For some odd reason, Callum Turner is forced to awkwardly say “f—k this” and “f—k that” in the middle of casual conversations.

The Only Living Boy comes off as a movie taken from the imagination of a teenage boy who dreams of every woman in the world wanting him. Mimi starts off as unsure about being with Thomas but the minute he stops trying to get her she’s crazy about him. Then there is obviously the part where he starts sleeping with his father’s mistress. One of the very first things she says to him is “You want to make love to me, you just don’t know it yet” and this was minutes after meeting him.

Ultimately, this is a frustrating movie whose only redeeming factor is Jeff Bridge’s performance, which does most of the heavy lifting here. There are some odd editing choices that are distracting from the movie.  There is a twist at the end that could have been good if developed further. Instead the audience is shown the twist and then everybody just sort of happily accepts it, making the entire journey feel pointless.


The Only Living Boy in New York
 Director:  Marc Webb
Studio: Amazon Studios
Genre: Drama
Release Date: August 11 2017
Author: Eddie Lopez
Eddie Lopez Eduardo Lopez grew up in the hot deserts of the Imperial Valley (El Centro, CA) but now resides in San Diego. Eddie is a recent graduate from San Diego State University with a degree in Television, Film, and New Media. He grew up on classic horror movies but loves movies of every genre and every decade. Aside from talking about movies, Eddie enjoys writing screenplays and hopes to one day have one of his scripts made into an actual film.