Fifty years ago, The Graduate was released. Starring Dustin Hoffman as an unsure college graduate who begins a sexual relationship with his parents’ friend, played by Anne Bancroft while dating her daughter, played by Katharine Ross. The film succeeded in part because of timing (The Summer of Love) but in large part because it didn’t take itself too seriously. It played up its absurd, comedic elements. Sadly, the same can’t be said of The Only Living Boy in New York, a bloated, serious, and absurdly lofty exploration of intergenerational love.

Thomas Webb (Callum Turner) is a recent Manhattan college graduate who’s at a loss about his love life. His attempts at romantically pursuing Mimi (Kiersey Clemons), a similarly aged young woman, go nowhere. Meanwhile, his parents, including his mother, Judith (Cynthia Nixon); and father Ethan, (Pierce Brosnan), are choking Upper West Side parents who complain that Thomas lives too far away, despite the fact that he’s lives only in the Lower East Side. When Thomas and Mimi discover that Ethan is having an affair with another woman named Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), Thomas becomes obsessed. Thomas manages to meet Johanna, who already knows who Thomas is. She actively flirts with the younger man, and the two eventually develop a sexual relationship. Thomas is in way over his head and unsure of how to handle the mess, but finds solace in the sage advice of his alcoholic neighbour W.F. (Jeff Bridges).

The movie, which is insular to the wealthy world of Manhattan, is so serious in its execution that most people will find it inaccessible. And its Oedipal themes, filled with jealousy and sex, lack the wink and nod of The Graduate. And when a certain Simon and Garfunkel song makes into the movie an hour into its execution, it lacks the irony and sense of recognition that it obviously was meant to have. Undoubtedly, it’s due to the movie’s seriousness. And that’s too bad. The movie has an interesting premise. It’s a shame that the movie invests so little time in the worries of its idly rich characters. “The Great Gatsby was about the idle rich. But at least it had a morality to its tale. This movie doesn’t. Oh well.

Is The Only Living Boy in New York Essential Viewing?

No. Unless seeing Kate Beckinsale sleep with a father and son is your fetish, there is little value to seeing this movie.

The Only Living Boy in New York opens Friday, August 25, 2017 at Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP. Check their website for more information.

The Only Living Boy in New York Trailer