Single Man, A

Release date: December 11, 2009
Directed by: Tom Ford
Novel by: Christopher Isherwood
Screenplay by: Tom Ford and David Scearce
Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Kortajarena

As far as debut films go, Tom Ford does a marvelous job – presenting a film full of emotion, lush coloring, and performances that truly inspire. A Single Man is a simple but powerful film about life, love, and loss.

The story revolves around George (Firth), an English professor from Los Angeles who has recently lost his life partner Jim (Goode) in a car accident. The film takes place over one day of George’s life, at the end of which he plans on taking his life — unable to bear living without the love of his life. On this day he plans on getting his affairs in order, preparing for his suicide with the utmost care and precision.

Throughout the day he has experiences with interesting characters including one of his students (Hoult), a male prostitute (Kortajarena), and his best friend and former lover (Moore). Alongside these meetings with people both old and new, George also reminisces on his past with Jim, including their first meeting, as well as a simple and romantic night at home. Through these many meetings and nostalgic moments, George questions whether or not his life would be worth continuing without Jim.

Although this is Tom Ford’s first leap from fashion to cinema, you can still feel the abundant feel of a designer in the film. A fair chunk of the film is shown with unsaturated colors to emphasize the lack of interest that George has in life, but each moment that he experiences an epiphany of sorts, the colors flow in flawlessly, creating aesthetically pleasing scenes for audiences. The raw feeling he gives many scenes — especially a tough one with Colin Firth in which his character receives notification of his partners death by phone — is truly impressive for a first time director, and he does a marvelous job at getting across many emotions, specifically grief.

The performances by the cast are out of this world, especially Firth who snagged an Academy Award nomination for his role as George. To my personal enjoyment, Colin Firth strayed from any and all stereotypes usually associated with homosexual characters to fit the time period and the character. Between Firth and Ford, we are given a fair view of a man whose sexuality is irrelevant to the way he lives his life. Matthew Goode plays his role as a loving partner beautifully and simply, making us really believe the romance between Jim and George. As George’s semi-supportive best friend Charley, Julianne Moore does a wonderful job. She plays a woman desperate for attention, but also manages to comfort George in the roughest of times. Hoult and Kortajarena both do an excellent job as well, delivering some lines and experiences that are particularly important to George’s day.

To say that A Single Man is a beautiful film is an understatement. Tom Ford successfully brings Isherwood’s novel to the big screen, and shows us just how hard it was to be a homosexual male in the sixties – especially one grieving the loss of the man he loved.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Part of the 2011 LGBT Blogathon

Juan Barquin

Just yer average twenty-something college student with no time on his hands who ends up watching (and writing) too many movies and shows for his own good.

6 Responses

  1. amy says:

    I really liked the style of the film as well, and though I was prepared to cry (I love crying on film, LOL), I actually… laughed a bit. Am I the only one? When he was getting ready wit the sleeping bag?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I really think Colin won Best Actor because the Academy didn’t award him for A Single Man xD

    • Juan Barquin says:

      @amy, I was laughing plenty with the sleeping bag. I feel like it’s there to have some comic relief even in the face of death, especially seeing as the film is pretty dark sometimes. Hell, another major comic relief scene was him dreaming about peeing on the kid like his dog.

      And Colin Firth was definitely robbed for A Single Man. Giving it to him for King’s Speech felt like they were just making up for it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy The King’s Speech, but it’s ultimately a forgettable film and his performance in A Single Man is far more emotional.

      • amy says:

        Oh, I thought I should mention… I heard the new movie Madonna is directing might be… A Single Man’s kinda good.

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