The Only Living Boy in New York (film)

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The Only Living Boy in New York
The Only Living Boy in New York (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarc Webb
Produced by
Written byAllan Loeb
Music byRob Simonsen
CinematographyStuart Dryburgh
Edited byTim Streeto
Distributed by
Release date
  • August 11, 2017 (2017-08-11)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.1 million[2]

The Only Living Boy in New York is a 2017 American drama film directed by Marc Webb and written by Allan Loeb. The film stars Callum Turner, Kate Beckinsale, Pierce Brosnan, Cynthia Nixon, Kiersey Clemons, and Jeff Bridges. The film was released on August 11, 2017, by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios, receiving generally negative reviews.


Thomas Webb is a recent college graduate who is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life and has a one-sided crush on his friend Mimi. He meets a new neighbor, W.F., with whom he connects. As Thomas spends time with W.F., he gets advice about life.

When Thomas and Mimi socialize in a bar, Thomas sees his publisher father, Ethan, kissing a woman, Johanna. Fearing that the affair would damage his mentally unstable mother, Judith, Thomas starts to follow Johanna. He confronts her and is surprised to learn she knows him. She reveals that she is an editor working with his father and recognizes Thomas from pictures in Ethan's office. He pleads with her to leave his married father alone. Johanna tells Thomas that he is still a child who doesn't know anything and in fact he actually wants to sleep with her too. He repeats the confrontation to W.F., then reluctantly admits that he does want to sleep with her.

At a friend's party, Thomas bumps into Johanna with yet another man. He calls her a hooker, but she explains her date is gay. Thomas surprisingly kisses her. An affair starts and Thomas begins to fall for Johanna. He tells her that since he was a child, he has aspired to be a writer, but Ethan told him that his essays were only 'serviceable'.

In W.F.'s absence Thomas finds a manuscript titled The Only Living Boy in New York. W.F. is actually a successful, though reclusive, writer; Thomas has inspired him to write again. Thomas shows him his essays, and W.F. tells him that he has talent.

Thomas invites W.F. to a party at his father's company. Thomas takes Mimi to the party and she surprisingly shows feelings towards him. She asks him if he is having an affair with Johanna which he denies. Thomas sees W.F. at the party and he tries to introduce him to his mother, but W.F. suddenly disappears. W.F. meets with Johanna on the roof and warns her to not hurt Thomas.

Ethan proposes marriage to Johanna and she ends her relationship with Thomas. Angry, Thomas confronts his father and discloses he has also been sleeping with Johanna. Ethan angrily leaves the room, while Johanna tearfully tells Thomas that she really is in love with Ethan. She tells Thomas he really doesn't know a lot. She shows him a news clipping/photograph that Ethan keeps in his office, of a younger Thomas winning a tennis match, with W.F. standing in the background.

Thomas confronts W.F., who explains that he was a close friend to his parents. As Ethan is infertile, W.F. fathered a child with Judith, making him Thomas's biological father. W.F. realized that he was in love with Judith, but stayed away. She realized she loved him too, and his leaving led to her years of depression. W.F. has watched Thomas from afar, hoping to connect with his son, which he now has.

Returning to his parents’ home, Thomas finds that Ethan has disclosed his affair to Judith and wants a divorce. Thomas tells his mother that he's been in contact with W.F. and that he knows Judith has always been in love with W.F.

One year later, Thomas is working in a bookstore, while trying to get his writing published. Ethan comes into the bookstore and the two catch up. He offers to help Thomas using his publishing connections, which Thomas declines. Thomas asks if Ethan is still in contact with Johanna, and he says no, then admits he's lying. Thomas finds Judith at a reading, listening while W.F. reads from his new book The Only Living Boy in New York. Thomas watches them and smiles, as his mother has finally found happiness.



On August 15, 2012, it was announced Marc Webb would direct the film.[3] On November 4, 2014, Miles Teller joined the cast of the film.[4] On September 8, 2016, Callum Turner joined the cast of the film to replace Miles Teller.[5] On September 20, 2016, Kate Beckinsale joined the cast of the film.[6] On September 23, 2016, Pierce Brosnan joined the cast of the film.[7] On September 27, 2016, Kiersey Clemons joined the cast of the film.[8] Principal photography began in October 2016.[6]


The film was released on August 11, 2017, by Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios.[9]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 34% based on 88 reviews, and an average rating of 4.69/10. The site's consensus reads: "Narratively messy and cloying, The Only Living Boy in New York is a romantic trifle that audiences won't want to give a second date".[10] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 33 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[11]

Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers unfavorably compared the film to The Graduate, giving it 1.5 stars out of 4 and saying, "Even the best actors – and this coming-of-age movie boasts a handful of them – can't fight this much tin-eared dialogue."[12]


  1. ^ "The Only Living Boy in New York". AMC Theatres. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Only Living Boy in New York (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike (2012-08-15). "Marc Webb Attaches To 'The Only Living Boy In New York'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  4. ^ Justin Kroll (2014-11-04). "Miles Teller to Star in 'Spider-Man' Director's New Indie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  5. ^ Justin Kroll (2016-09-08). "Callum Turner to Star in Marc Webb's 'Only Living Boy in New York'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  6. ^ a b Dave McNary (2016-09-20). "Kate Beckinsale Joins 'Only Living Boy in New York'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  7. ^ Amanda N'Duka (2016-09-23). "Pierce Brosnan Set To Star In 'The Only Living Boy In New York'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  8. ^ Justin Kroll (2016-09-27). "Kiersey Clemons to Star in Marc Webb's Next Film With Callum Turner". Variety. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike (2017-03-17). "Amazon Taps Roadside To Release 'The Only Living Boy In New York'". Deadline. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  10. ^ "The Only Living Boy in New York (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Only Living Boy in New York Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  12. ^ Travers, Peter (August 10, 2017). "'The Only Living Boy in New York' Review: Weak Riff on 'The Graduate' Is a Waste". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 22, 2017.

External links[edit]