Scott Marks 3:01 p.m., Dec. 12
Who's up for an existential road trip in an old Mercedes convertible? Colin Firth turns in an understated performance as Wallace Avery, a thwarted, once-promising golfer who sets out to make a new self for himself somewhere else. (Small wonder: he lives in Florida, but it feels like someone hit the dimmer on the sun.) Emily Blunt gets the normally thankless role of manic pixie dreamgirl Charlotte Fitzgerald, right down to the ripped tights and black nail polish. Fortunately, the story doesn't try to equate "damaged" with "cute" or "just waiting for a man to notice." Instead, it gently (and sometimes, not so gently) dismantles the fantasies that both Wallace and Charlotte labor so mightily to construct. (The couple's practice of breaking into strangers' homes for the sake of sexual roleplay feels distressingly quirky at first, but stay with it.) What remains is reality: prickly, difficult, but possibly worthwhile. 2012.
— Matthew Lickona