The Only Living Boy in New York is a new drama film directed by Marc Webb and stars Callum Turner, Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Nixon, Kate Beckinsale and Pierce Brosnan.
The film follows the central character Thomas (Callum Turner), navigating through life in his early twenties. Thomas is fresh out of college and has moved out of home into a small, bleak apartment, and is trying desperately to escape his rich and affluent parents (Pierce Brosnan and Cynthia Nixon) who live in the Upper East Side.
The Only Living Boy in New York begins with Thomas’s new neighbour W.F Gerald (Jeff Bridges), a weathered man in his sixties who drinks and smokes throughout most of the film, showing interest in Thomas’s love life and offering advice. Thomas thinks he is madly in love with the beautiful and unattainable Mimi (Kiersey Clemons), until one evening they run into his father, Ethan (Pierce Brosnan), with a woman who isn’t his mother. Thomas keeps quiet about his father’s affair for fear of his mother finding out, who is emotionally unstable and too delicate to handle the blow of her husband with another woman.
The film’s plot at first seems to be a romantic comedy with a slightly new idea, however the film unfolds nearly like a symphony film in parts, really focusing on the beauty of New York. The film features a lot of sweeping pan shots of the city, showing it to be somewhat like Thomas’s life; a bit messy but beautiful anyway. It also focuses on the relationships and intimate moments the central characters share.
The Only Living Boy in New York shows the city as a piece of art and paints Thomas’s life throughout it, telling the story of how he accidently finds himself and stops yearning for a life that isn’t his own. The film shows his love for Mimi and then Johanna, and then leads to him finding a part of himself he didn’t know was missing, revealed though one of the best plot twists I’ve seen in a movie in a long time.
The film also tackles the topic of mental health through Cynthia Nixon’s portrayal of Thomas’s mother Judith, who has come from a broken family and seems to suffer from bouts of depression and bipolar disorder. Nixon portrays her character realistically, showing Judith at her best when surrounded by friends and family, and at her worst when she is home alone with her thoughts.
Marc Webb’s latest has so much more depth than I understood at first glance, and tells a coming-of-age story, but not in a traditional teen-movie sense, rather telling the story that a lot of us feel in our early twenties after finishing college or university, a resounding, ‘what now?’.
The title is taken from a Simon & Garfunkel song.