A Single Man: My Review

Some of the year’s best films are showing up late here in Nashville, so I made my way out to the theater last evening to see “A Single Man”. I knew little about the film except that it stars Colin Firth, who always seems to make a quality film, that it was directed by Tom Ford, and that it keeps being nominated for awards. That was enough for me, and I came away completely surprised by such a beautiful and artistic film. Every shot, every scene, was masterful, purposeful and a piece of art. That’s how I like my movies.

The film tells the very sad tale of George Falconer, played by Firth, who is an English professor in Los Angeles in the early 1960’s. We learn of his tragedy in the first scene of the film: there has been a car wreck, and he has lost his life’s love, his partner Jim. We then see him take the fateful phone call, and what follows is a “day in the life” of George after this life-altering event and his way of dealing with lost love. I won’t say much more since most of my readers probably have not seen the film, but every scene captivated me, and spoke profoundly about what it means to lose love, to experience grief, and to find beauty in it all.

The film thematically is a cross between this year’s “A Serious Man” and “American Beauty”, but it is unique in its artistic value. It is clear that a person who understands fashion, who has an eye for the aesthetic, and who loves human beauty made this film, and of course that’s director Tom Ford. The people are beautiful, the rich colors of the screen communicate the mood of the film, and the fashion is exquisite. Colin Firth and Julianne Moore are amazing. I am a visual person, so I was awash in the beauty and vibrancy of the colors and people. I particularly liked how Ford used a grey tone to communicate the difficult choices George faces, and his situation as a gay man in the 1960s where he was not even permitted to attend the funeral of his lover.

The film’s attention to loss, lust, loneliness were moving, and the acting and script over and over conveyed the fragility of all of our loves and hopes. While some of my readers may not be comfortable with the gay content of the film, I hope they would see the universal themes in the film that impact us all. I left the theater inspired to live better and to accept all of life’s gifts, even the losses.

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