"Lies Bring Misery"
What You Need To Know:
ARTHUR NEWMAN is well acted and directed. The script is full of moments of surprise and wonder, both serious and humorous. The two protagonists eventually do the right thing. This provides a touching, beautifully portrayed moral lesson. Despite its redemptive ending, however, ARTHUR NEWMAN contains an excessive combination of lewd, immoral content. There’s also some brief marijuana use.
(PaPa, BB, RoRo, C, LL, V, SSS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Somewhat mixed pagan worldview about two misguided lovers who must learn to change their ways and re-connect with their families and others, with strong moral, Romantic elements and light but touching redemption at the end; 18 obscenities (including three “f” words), one GD, and one light profanity; brief violence when man angrily chases a woman who’s stolen his car and breaks a window on it; excessive sexual content includes depicted fornication in three scenes, implied oral sex, implied fornication; partial rear female nudity in one sex scene, upper male nudity in sex scenes, and female lead wears skimpy lingerie in a couple scene; alcohol use and drunkenness; couple shares a marijuana pipe and man saves woman who’s overdosed on drugs by taking her to a hospital; strong miscellaneous immorality but rebuked by the ending including man leaves his longtime girlfriend and his son by faking his death and purchasing fake identification, protagonists break into homes while owners are away and use their homes for meals and sex, female lead steals wallet of a man dying from a seizure (leaving his corpse as an unidentified “John Doe”), but male lead changes his ways when he discovers what she’s done, and they search for the man’s widow to confess and set things right, and man is estranged from his son, but the movie ends with them silently reconciling and smiling when father returns.
ARTHUR NEWMAN is a nicely crafted morality tale with strong comic and dramatic elements. It has a strong moral, redemptive lesson at the end, but it’s undercut by strong Romantic, pagan elements, including excessive sexual immorality, before the two protagonists learn their lessons and change their ways.
The story follows Wallace (Colin Firth), a professional golfer who’s utterly dissatisfied with his life. Wallace is estranged from his ex-wife and son. He decides to leave his longtime girlfriend and disappear by faking his suicide and establishing a new identity as Arthur Newman. Wallace is headed for Terre Haute, Indiana, in the hopes of becoming a golf pro there. Along the way, he picks up a woman who calls herself Mike (Emily Blunt), which is also a fake identity. “Mike” has severe issues. She fears she’ll become psychotically crazy like her institutionalized, schizophrenic twin sister and intentionally overdoses or gets extremely drunk at the start of their journey.
Mike, whose real name is Charlotte, convinces “Arthur” to follow various intriguing couples to their homes. They wait until the people leave and then break into the houses for the thrill of pretending to be the people, eating their food, fornicating in their beds, and generally goofing around.
Eventually, however, the stark reality of Charlotte’s dark inner nature comes to the surface. Arthur is forced to decide whether to keep faking his way through life or to return to his real persona and try to make that life more satisfying. Together, they face their realities and do the right things in the end. This provides a touching and beautifully crafted moral lesson.
ARTHUR NEWMAN is performed well by its lead duo, Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. Together, they achieve a strong screen chemistry, making this road-trip movie feel like an intimate character study of two intriguing yet flawed people. The script by Becky Johnston is filled with moments of surprise and wonder, both serious and humorous. The direction by Dante Ariola captures both kinds of scenes with precision. Finally, the music score is lovely and the cinematography glows.
However, ARTHUR NEWMAN contains an excessive amount of lewd content, including some strong foul language. Also, before the two protagonists change their ways, they engage in a lot of other immoral behavior, such as invading other people’s homes and smoking pot in one scene.
Despite its positive redemptive ending, ARTHUR NEWMAN is unacceptable viewing overall.