US, 2012, 101 minutes, Colour.
Colin Firth, Emily Blunt, Lucas Hedges, Anne Heche, M.Emmett Walsh.
Directed by Dante Ariola.
This is something of a strange enterprise, an American story led by Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, both British.
This is a story of middle age crisis, of a man whose dreams have not been fulfilled either in his marriage and family relationships with his son or in his ambitions about golf. He decides to stage his death at a beach and assumes a new name, going on his travels to meet a golf professional in Terre Haute who has promised him a job.
It certainly does not work out will. He encounters a very disturbed woman involved in an accident, Michaela, Emily Blunt. She is taken to hospital and he goes to visit. Ultimately, he decides to take some responsibility for her and discovers in her wallet that she has a twin and has assumed her name. She is actually Charlotte.
There is a whole series of adventures, a liaison blossoming between the two, but their also taking other people’s identities, invading their homes and living their lives until they are found out.
In the meantime, Arthur Newman, really Wallace Avery, has a young son very effectively played by Lucas Hedges – who was to emerge as an Oscar-nominated actor for Manchester by the Sea and appeared in films like Lady Bird. He encounters the worker from the office who was in love with Wallace. She is played by Anne Heche.
There is a crisis moment when Arthur/Wallace attempts to resuscitate who has suffered a turn on the sidewalk – and later learns that Charlotte had taken his wallet so that his widow never knew the truth. Wallace demands that Charlotte go with him to visit the widow.
With this pressure, eventually they do face the truth about their families, Charlotte returning to her twin sister and Wallace going back to meet his son.
1. The title and focus? Names? Issues of identity, new names, new opportunities, leaving everything behind? Issues of deception?
2. The American settings, North Carolina, homes, offices, the road, the beach, motels, home invasions, golf, the police? The musical score?
3. An American film, the British leads?
4. The target audience, midlife crises? Of men? The of women?
5. Wallace Avery, his name, choosing Arthur Newman because of the golf? Getting forged papers? With mean out of the office? The break between them? Her reaction? Kevin, was sitting outside the home, Kevin knowing that he was spying? The gift for Kevin, his refusal, riding off? Wallace putting it in the letterbox? Telling people that he was going to the beach, getting rid of the aspects of the car, the tent, taking off his shirt, in the water, leaving the tent as if he had disappeared in the sea? The police, the investigation, the search? Interviews with his wife, with Kevin, with Nina?
6. His being caught up in the incident with Michaela? The crash? The abuse of man? The police? Her tantrum? Wallace rescuing her, the hospital and treatment? Her cards, her identity? Charlotte, her sister Michelle and her hospitalisation?
7. Charlotte’s story, the relationship with Michelle, twins, the mother and her schizophrenia, her sister and the institution? Her own personal reactions? Tantrums, wandering? Clipped to mania? Her needs? Hearing the same metal results for herself? Her response to Wallace, finding out his true name? The background of the golf, and not wanting to go on the bus, travelling with him? At the motel, insecurities, unable to sleep, going to Wallace?
8. Wallace/Arthur, his age, experience, alienation from his wife, his work and inflating it, with Mina, his coldness towards Kevin? The background of golf, success and failures? Meeting the professional, helping him? The invitation to Terre Haute? A new destiny?
9. The man dying on the road, Wallace trying to revive him? Charlotte holding his hand? His death, anonymous? Discovering the truth later, his rebuking Charlotte for letting him die? His card, identity? The visit to his wife?
10. The couple, their needs, travels, relationship, sexual relationship?
11. Assuming others identities, home invasions, the range of couples, their homes, the risks, people returning? Food, clothing, sleeping and the bets, the bridal veil? Cutting it fine and escaping?
12. The golf course, the expert, his looking up Wallace and the Internet as Arthur, brushing him off?
13. The effect on Arthur, his being disowned, humiliated?
14. Charlotte, stealing his money, the police arriving, the wallet from the dead man? Wallace and his patience? Saying he gave Charlotte the money?
15. Confronting Charlotte, the reality of her life, taking a man’s life, the visit to the widow?
16. The importance of family, Charlotte’s decision to go to the institution, seeing her sister?
17. Kevin, watching his mother, going to his father’s apartment, finding Mina, the bond with her, the domestic details and sharing, understanding himself better?
18. Wallace, his decision to return home, to bond with his son?