Armed with a new identity, he leaves his old life behind and sets out to fulfill his long forgotten dreams.
"I think people often feel a need to look beyond what they've achieved or haven't achieved," Firth said.
Along the way, he meets a troubled but free-spirited young woman, played by Emily Blunt. She says she was attracted to a film that she feels inspires conversation.
"It seemed to be a script that carved out new space for itself. I hadn't read anything like that in ages," Blunt said. "When we first met, we were like, isn't it weird that you kind of read it and you love it but you don't know why and then you read it again and then there's more stuff? It was very exciting."
Both actors appreciate a story that can stay with an audience after the credits have rolled.
"I'm not very interested in doing something for the sake of a message," Firth said. "I do like something that stays active with people beyond the end of the film."
"Arthur Newman" is in limited release now.