Monday, November 15, 2010

A Single Man

Summary: George (Colin Firth) is a British English professor living in 1962 L.A. at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Instead of focusing on his job or the looming potential death of the United States his mind and heart are centered on one thing: the death of his lover, Jim. As stated by George throughout his opening monologue, each day is difficult yet typical. However, when we see George he decides to do something a bit different.

Plot (A): Within the opening minutes of the film it becomes very difficult not to feel a deep sense of sympathy for George. It’s even harder to hold back your emotions as you see George lay down next to a dead Jim in a dream. It’s within those opening moments that you understand the suffering the main character internally experiences and yet can't express to the outside world. A Single Man has an extraordinary storyline because it hits so many aspects of life. It’s very touching yet rough for those who are in love and have to watch George's pain for the loss of Jim. For those who grew up during the 60’s, it's reminiscent of what life was like specifically in relation to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, and the constant sense doom that always lingered. Also, for anyone who was gay at that time it expresses how they could not live life in the open thus being forced to conceal their true self behind an illusion. Overall, A Single Man touches on an emotional, historical, and social level of life in the 1960’s.

Action: N/A

Acting & Dialogue (A): The film predominately focuses on Colin Firth’s character and his interactions with the people in his life. Firth is absolutely amazing in his role. He eloquently combined his British charm with the sophistication of an English professor secretly living as a gay man in the 1960’s. As in some of my favorite films Firth’s character discusses his inner thoughts with the audience. This constant running monologue, as always, allows for a deeper connection between viewers and the character/story. Firth’s performance was so highly applauded last year that he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. Julianne Moore plays Charley, a former lover of George, but who is now his best friend. And when I say best friend I mean she’s a self-indulgent divorcee with a shit load of money and a drinking problem. Moore is equally superb although her screen time is minimal. For me, it was the way she spoke which stuck out the most. Picture a pretentious WASP from the Upper East Side saying, “That’s marvelous darling.” a bunch of times and then you'll get the essence of her character.

Sex Appeal: N/A

Director (A): This is Tom Ford’s only directing gig thus far and I have to say he made one hell of an entrance. One of the things that I really liked about Ford’s direction was his ability to brighten up the color in George’s face when some memory, smell, or person made him happy. It’s hard not to notice George’s color brighten up significantly when he is happy. The constant recurrence gives the notion that there is hope for him yet. Just like the monologue, and perhaps even more so, this simply action connects us to George’s emotions on a deeper level. Ford wonderfully mixed the present with flashbacks of random events in George and Jim’s relationship: i.e.) when they first met, hanging out on the beach or in their house, and sadly yes, the moment George received the news about Jim’s death (Firth was great in that scene). I don’t see any new projects on Fords IMDB page but that could and probably will change.

Overall: A

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