A Single Man

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man
Directed by
Tom Ford

A Single Man is a wonderfully stylized movie starring Colin Firth as George, a “homo-sexual” college professor (to use the parlance of the movie’s time,) who has 8 months ago suffered the loss of his lover of 16 years.  The movie takes place in 1960s Los Angeles and chronicles the emotional aftermath of George’s loss on a day when he is feeling less than optimistic about continuing his own life.  Firth’s character genuinely struggles to find meaning in his life without the presence of his lost love, personified through flashbacks and photographic memories.

I thought the acting in this movie was excellent. Colin Firth, who is up for an Oscar in this role for Best Performance in a Leading Role , was totally believable in the tortured role of George, a total departure from his perhaps typecast roles in such films as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Love Actually.  Julianne Moore gave a somewhat memorable performance as Charley, a spinster divorcée neighbor and George’s close, long-time friend.  And my hat is off to Nicholas Hoult as Kenny the all-American looking, yet seemingly mysterious and closeted college student whose crush on George begins its culmination during an especially telling and foreshadowing classroom lecture by Firth’s character.  You may remember Hoult from his role as the tortured, dork-boy Marcus, in About a Boy (circa 2002).

One aspect of the movie I really enjoyed was the cinematographer’s use of color(s).  A bulk of the film is shot in a tone that is somewhere between black & white and a Mad Men-esque coloration which accurately amplifies the mood of the main character played by Firth and encapsulates one’s idea of a dated, faded photograph you might find in an album at your parents house.  Despite his character’s self-prescribed down and out predicament, Firth’s character is able to recognize flashes of beauty or joie de vivre that his person has experienced, and which bring meaning to his plight.  These moments of epiphany throughout the film are captured in full living color atop his dreary, dark, post-love world.

The movie moves casually slow, but gracefully conveys the difficulty in living happily in the wake of tragic human and emotional loss.

* co-authored by William Guth
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2 Responses

  1. […] of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, An Education. He also co-authored the review for A Single Man. Expect more movie and book reviews from him in the […]

  2. I loved this movie too, and I wish Colin Firth would win the Oscar. I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one reviewing Oscar nominated films in the book blogging world!

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