Privilege and Painful: Our Review of ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’

Posted in Film Festivals, Movies by - August 25, 2017
Privilege and Painful: Our Review of ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’

Early on during the obnoxiously titled The Only Living Boy in New York, you’re supposed take pity on and align yourself with a young, handsome, talented white 20-something male named Thomas living in New York where his affluent and at times distant family seeks to support him financially and professional. Poor kid.

What proceeds is an insufferable story of privilege and insularity dressed up as romantic drama and familial existentialism. See, Thomas’ mother (Cynthia Nixon) suffers from anxiety and depression and his father (Pierce Brosnan) works a lot and one time didn’t go to his tennis match, so naturally he has to take of her and hates him. He also has a female friend who he feels should be obligated to date him because one time they got drunk and had sex.

Poor kid.

Thomas befriends a stereotypical bohemian relic of a writer in Jeff Bridges. He is a man of mystery living for reasons unknown in the same crappy apartment building where Thomas resides. ANd because Thomas is a proud writer, he doesn’t really have a job or want one, and refuses help from his successful father who is a prominent publisher.

When Thomas discovers his father is having an affair with a beautiful stranger (Kate Beckinsale), he continues to assume he knows everything and starts to meddle. That includes confronting this woman and falling in love with her, and soon shedding himself of his self-titled boring existence.

It’s all a lot of pretense and preposterousness, and at no point should you or anyone give a damn about Thomas’s moping. His entitled existence, pining for a life he thinks he deserves while condemning those around him, makes him the least compelling character with whom to sympathize. He whines and moans and his white, affluent New York is exactly the reason why half the country hates the other half.

And because he is nowhere remotely the character the filmmakers want him to be, the film around him, where Thomas searches for identity and engages in some sexual fun and melodrama, falls apart. Director Marc Webb and writer Allan Loeb are especially cruel to the woman in the film, making them either weak, fickle, or insecure. It would be offensive were everything not so repugnant to begin with. Insufferable boy in New York, indeed.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.