‘A Single Man’ Review

Last night I saw A Single Man, Tom Ford’s directorial debut about an Englishman in Los Angeles who’s trying to cope with the death of his partner. It was funny because I saw it at a tiny theater at the Landmark which was filled with two and three seat leather couches. It definitely added to the experience. I can definitely say I was really excited to see this film and I didn’t leave disappointed. Tom Ford is simply a man with amazing visual aesthetics, and watching his work come to life on film was an absolute treat. I definitely suggest you seeing this if even slightly interested.

Continue reading under the cut for my full review along with potential spoilers.

Like I said before, I went into the theater expecting something great and I left with an amazing feeling. The movie was filled with a slow and deliberate pacing that really made you soak in the details of the life of Colin Firth’s character George Falconer. I really felt like the trailers were kind of misleading, probably to convince more heterosexual people to go see it. The movie is simply about George Falconer dealing with the death of his partner of 16 years, while Julianne Moore’s character plays an extremely supporting part. I was personally glad I didn’t see any sort of romance bloom from her inclusion as it wouldn’t have made any sense.

The way Tom Ford showed details and nuance was extremely well done. When presented with someone appealing, attractive, interesting, the colors became saturated and rich. As soon as the moment was gone, so was the vibrancy of the screen. You can even see this effect in the color palette of his office which was nothing but washes of whites and cremes.

Towards the end when he’s having drinks with Nicholas Hoult’s character Kenny Potter it’s wonderful to see Firth’s character start to realize that he still has a life to live. Whether or not Kenny turns out to be gay or not is left a mystery, though we can safely say he was certainly interested in the idea.

It’s was also really great to see Tom Ford create a movie about a strong gay character who doesn’t fall into degrading stereotypes. Firth’s character is a well-to-do teacher at UCLA with a nice house and nice things. He and his partner had a wonderful life together and were portrayed as normal people.

Overall I loved this movie and left the theater with that deep, thoughtful feeling you get after seeing something wonderful. Yet again, if you have the chance to see this film, please do so. Right now it’s only playing in limited release across the country to be eligible for the Academy Awards, but should have a wider release come next year.


5 Comments ‘A Single Man’ Review

  1. Pingback: B+S Notes—December 15, 2009

  2. Steven December 15, 2009 at 11:41 AM

    I loved this film too! Oh to live a 60’s Los Angeles designed by Tom Ford!

    There was a really great interview with Tom Ford last night on NPR’s Fresh Air. He talks about the film and also about his views on advertising, branding, and fashion. In the last half he discusses the objectification of women and what it says about where we are culturally.


  3. JC December 16, 2009 at 1:06 AM

    the movie looked great, sounded great and felt great. for a first film it was very confident and beautifully made. but I wanted to leave liking the movie more and couldn’t help but feel a little left out in the cold with a little too much distance between the characters and the audience, it just had one too many slow motion poetic moments that kept me from really getting engaged with the characters. Aside form them it is so much better than most movies out there and really was a beautiful movie.

  4. Ryan December 31, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    This film, although I am glad it was made, had nothing fresh. If not for the fact that gay leading male protagonists are basically vacant from more mainstream American cinema, this film would fall by the wayside.

    Tom Ford’s idea of making a film is caught up in the notion of art cinema passe. From the intrusive guy sitting on toilet, to his forced and boring visual motifs (the saturation changes, water as life/death, white outs).

    A number of the actors are also less than spectacular. This is a problem when most of these characters have 10 seconds to win us with their charisma. In fact the only actors keeping this film together are Moore and Firth. Sure it has style, but it’s Tom Ford, that should be easy, what the film lacks is anything beyond that. It has it’s moments, but overall it leaves one bored. Not the good kind of bored, where the filmmaker challenges both the viewer and film in the hopes of expanding cinematic boundaries, but the kind that leaves you wondering if there’s really anything here beyond this pile of stuff. Definitely a step forward in queer cinema, but a stagnant step in everything else.

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