Firth and Blunt probably did the best with what they had to work with (although their American accents could each use some work), but once Arthur and Mike cross the line from friends to lovers there’s a definite ick factor (perhaps it’s their significant age difference) that’s nearly impossible to get past. That, along with a story that fails to ignite on any level, makes Arthur Newman nothing more than an indie cliché.

Sure, the mood and setting are appropriately depressing, and the characters make their best attempts at waxing philosophical, but no one will confuse Arthur Newman for great art anytime soon. It's more of a hot mess.


  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking. A character nearly overdoses on morphine-laced cough syrup. Arthur and Mike borrow someone’s homemade pipe to smoke pot.
  • Language/Profanity: A handful of f-words. God and Jesus’s names are both misused once. A smattering of other profanity including sh--, as-, he-- and da--.
  • Sex/Nudity: A hotel desk clerk is watching pornography, and there’s explicit sounds and movements. There’s also a quick close-up of the man and woman having sex (her naked breasts are visible). Arthur tells the clerk that’s not appropriate viewing in public, but he keeps the video going nonetheless. Arthur and Mike have sex on several occasions, some scenes are more explicit than others. One has rear female nudity, and in another, oral sex is implied.
  • Violence: A man nearly chokes on a hot dog.  Arthur’s attempts to resuscitate a man who had a seizure are unsuccessful—and he dies. A car window is broken by an angry man, and he threatens Mike.

Christa Banister is an author and full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the MeddlersBased in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.

Publication date: May 3, 2013