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Review: ‘Arthur Newman’

Posted 6:10am on Friday, Apr. 26, 2013

R (sexual content, strong language, brief drug use); 93 min.

Lots of people want to escape their past. Wallace Avery wants to escape his present. Which he does, pretty much before the opening credits are over, in Arthur Newman.

That’s to be his new name. Clearly, he has given it some thought, as he meets the unsavory dealer in phony IDs (M. Emmet Walsh), purchases the sort of car he figures Arthur Newman would drive (a late-model Mercedes 380 SL convertible) and fakes his death.

The pleasures of Arthur Newman come from figuring out the life he left, the dream he clings to for the future and the traveling companion he stumbles into on his way from Orlando to Terre Haute, Ind.

Colin Firth gives Wallace/Arthur a nice end-of-his-tether depression and desperation. He has been laid off from FedEx. He’s divorced and estranged from his teenage son (Lucas Hedges, quite good). He’s dating a woman (Anne Heche) who is constantly disappointed in him.

Then he meets Mikaela, aka Mike (Emily Blunt). She’s blitzed out of her mind when the cops grab her, stealing the car of some man she has lured with her wiles.

Veteran screenwriter Becky Johnston ( Seven Years in Tibet, The Prince of Tides) has concocted a melancholy, wistful and delusional romance that two very good actors bring to life.

Exclusive: AMC Grapevine Mills; iPic Fairview, Look Cinemas, Dallas

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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