Charles is in a slump. His wife has left him, leaving him adrift and at sea in his own life — he can’t even sleep in his own bed at home.
Looking to restart his life, he begins to assume the identities of strangers at a local coffee shop to avoid being alone. But his new way to avoid feeling lonely is a little more complicated than he thinks, and when he finds himself an opportunity to speak from the depths of soul, it both frees his spirit — and lands him some trouble.
Director Hughes William Thompson’s dramedy takes a common impulse we all have — the desire to walk in another person’s shoes, even for a brief amount of time — and dramatizes, exploring the complicated emotions that it both soothes and gives rise to.
Charles certainly finds himself in unique situations as he impersonates anyone but himself, but they all satisfy his desire for any human connection, however fleeting.
The strengths of the film — which is based on the short story “Healthy Start,” by Etgar Keret — are anchored in its sensitive, funny yet truthful writing and equally sensitive performances, which nail the gnawing loneliness, sadness and desire for connection that most of us will face during our challenges in life.
Firmly rooted in the everyday emotions of an ordinary man, coping with the travails of life, the film shows thoughtful attention to the vulnerability and longing of its main character, but portrays it with a wry sense of humor and a gentle eye for absurdity. “A New Man” is about fresh starts, however you find them — and moments of grace and freedom in the strangest of places.