First Hit: I liked the idea of the story more than the pithy clichés and lines that filled up the screen.
Thomas Webb (Callum Turner) is a mid-twenty-year-old man who is living on the lower east side of New York City. His parents live on the upper east side and are wealthy as his dad Ethen (Pierce Bronson) owns a publishing house.
He meets W. F. Gerald (Jeff Bridges), a rumpled mess of a man, as he walks into his building one day. W. F. tells him he has moved into Apt 2B. He seems very personable in wanting to know more about Thomas. Thomas succumbs to his inquiries and begins to tell W.F. his story.
Thomas is in love with Mimi (Kiersey Clemons) after one magical night they had together under the influence of molly and alcohol. But she only wants to be friends. He’d like to be a writer but when he showed his dad some of his writings, he said they were “serviceable.”
One day he sees his dad having an intimate lunch with an unknown woman named Johanna (Kate Beckinsale). He’s hurt and is afraid to tell his mom Judith (Cynthia Nixon) because she’s so mentally fragile. At a loss of what to do, he follows Johanna and confronts her.
However, he ends up having an affair with her and falls in love with her.
Sound twisted? Yes, because this is used to crack open the real story of the film, which isn’t about his love for Mimi and Johanna but how he came to exist.
Turner was adequate in this role but we never see him suffer, grow, or even write which he says is his passion. He almost played victim throughout the film. Bridges was good as the writer who held the secret and was writing a story about “The Only Living Boy in New York”. Clemons was good at the beginning but I thought her character to be not honest. She shunned Thomas because of his affair with Johanna when she had an affair with Thomas when she was with another person. Beckinsale was interesting as the desired woman. It was only till the end did I think she cared about something. Bronson was OK but his moments were few and far between. Nixon was OK as the fragile mother. Still didn’t think the story warranted such fragile behavior. Allan Loeb wrote a weak script that was poorly conceived to tell this story. Marc Webb had some nice sets to work within. I thought the lower east side apartments that both W. F. and Thomas lived in were perfect. The other inside sets were equally good as well. However, this plot needed a reworking before being committed to filmed.
Overall: This was a long and ineffective way to tell the real story of Thomas, 'The Only Living Boy in New York.'