Ostensibly, Arthur Newman is about the title character (Colin Firth) faking his own death to escape his hated life and to start life over again as a golf pro. Along the way, he meets Mike (Emily Blunt) a very troubled young woman who is, in her own way, also trying to re-invent herself. It doesn’t take long to figure out this film is going to be about two lost souls who will help each other find themselves and fall in love along the way.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much worth seeing in Arthur Newman, apart from the performances of Firth and Blunt. Yet, because of them, there are many riveting scenes filled with raw emotions between the actors, which can be (at times) hard to watch. Both actors have great chemistry and it would be nice to see actors do another movie together one day.
While Firth is good, the main attraction of the film is the fantastic Emily Blunt. It is a raw performance, where at times it feels like you can see through her eyes straight to the character’s soul. This is the type of work that should be recognized at during the award’s season. Sadly, without a Miramax type publicity machine, it is unlikely Blunt will get the recognition she deserves.
In spite of the great performances, Arthur Newman is a road movie that always seems to be going somewhere, but never quite getting there. Perhaps the meandering quality of the movie is meant to mirror the instability of the characters and the constant pull of the pasts they are trying to escape. Instead, it just feels like a half-hazard, but interesting attempt.