Review: The Only Living Boy in New York

Kiersey Clemons and Callum Turner in The Only Living Boy in New York

The Only Living Boy in New York looks like a love story at first glance. By the end it becomes clear it is a story about fathers and sons and about the loss of innocence.

The absolutely fantastic cast includes Callum Turner, Jeff Bridges, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cynthia Nixon, and Kiersey Clemons.

Callum Turner and Jeff Bridges in The Only Living Boy in New York

We jump right in with literary quality voice overs from Jeff Bridges as W.F. Gerald, meeting and editorializing about Thomas (Callum Turner). Be aware, the voice overs are a big feature of this film.

W.F. and Thomas are new neighbors. W.F. offers to give Thomas advice about how to get his almost-girlfriend Mimi (Kiersey Clemons) to sleep with him.

Cynthia Nixon and Pierce Brosnan in The Only Living Boy in New York

Cynthia Nixon and Pierce Brosnan play Thomas’ parents. He’s in the publishing business. She’s fragile. Thomas worries about her mental health through most of the movie.

Every character in The Only Living Boy in New York considers Thomas to be a naive innocent – not contaminated by New York and by how life works in the mean streets. For Mimi, that’s what attracts her to Thomas. For others, it’s what makes them treat him like the aimless slacker that he is.

Pierce Brosnan and Kate Beckinsale in The Only Living Boy in New York

The final character in this rather odd tale is Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), Thomas’ father’s mistress. She’s a few other things, as well.

Despite the fact that The Only Living Boy in New York has an equal number of male and female cast and would easily pass the Bechdel test, the film is about being a man. A man who loves a woman, a man who is a good father, a man who is a good son, and most of all a man who understands the rich and complicated underbelly of life.

The story was wonderfully constructed, with the webbing that connects the characters slowly brought into the light. At the same time it felt different in style. Maybe it was all the voice overs, but for whatever reason it seemed an eccentric way to tell a story. As I watched I kept thinking, “This is really different.” That isn’t a bad thing. It was an excellent film with a soulful message about life.

The Only Living Boy in New York was written by  Allan Loeb and directed by Marc Webb. It’s an Amazon Original available from Amazon Video.

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